Getting into and maintaining a home practise can be very daunting to a Yoga newbie but you only have to do a quick search online these days for motivational tips, programmes and guides to help you through. Here are some of my own suggestions;
Turn off any electrical equipment; this will help you tune out of your daily life and wind down into your practise. Importantly, make your area free of clutter and safe to work in. As I’m limited for room, I like to open my window half an hour before I start or burn some incense as a way to cleanse the space; tricking my brain into thinking I’m in a new place. And remember you wouldn’t check your phone at a studio class so put it out of sight.
Set a target of ten minutes and you’ll probably want to keep going for an extra ten before you know it. Build this up slowly, keeping to poses you are really familiar with at the beginning. One of my student’s only allows herself the first coffee of the day after thirty minutes of yoga. Having a short-term goal makes for a really energised practise. So, if you’re feeling a bit lethargic and want to reach for the caffeine or comfort food set yourself a similar target. Chances are once you work up your home practise, you won’t need that morning coffee, and it’ll be a random treat rather than a craving.
Don’t beat yourself up if your concentration wanes. I find a few deep breaths just sitting can solve those niggling thoughts and if this doesn’t work you can always come back to your practise at a different time. Be kind to yourself, if it just isn’t happening today, there’s always tomorrow.
Social Media Community
Instagram is full of amazing Yogi’s the world over wanting to share their practise. Search #yogachallenge and you will find so many to take part in. Some spanning a few days, others a whole year! Brisbane-based writer and yoga enthusiast, Keisha Crumb, took the #SunKissedYogis Challenge for 15 days and told me “Being part of a yoga social media movement ensured that I worked yoga into my everyday life, something that I will now continue with.” The sponsors of the challenges offer encouraging words and even if you don’t want to get involved right away, this is a great way to discover new poses and inspiration.
Be still and if you can’t be still get creative
Set the intention to just sit, breathe and to just be – yoga can be just this. However if your thoughts still wander why not write your own mantra affirming your intention and how you want to feel, dare to say the words out loud and spend some time thinking about how you can bring the essence of your intention in to your day/ week / life!
Invert, Invert, Invert
Inversions can be quite scary (I know they are to me anyway) but doing something that encourages you to take risks can be a great confidence boost and healthy for our psyche. If you don’t have much time or want to work in inversions slowly, play with squatting down and putting weight into your hands. In your Downward Dog lifting one foot at a time is a good way to start. Remembering that an inversion is simply a pose where your head is lower than your heart. Lying on your back with your legs up the wall is a great way to take some stress off your heart and your feet off the ground. The more time you spend like this the braver you’ll get with the more dramatic inversions.
There are endless tutorials online and websites that create ‘challenges’ and packages to help you work toward a particular goal. DOYOUYOGA, Udaya.com as well as pot lucking on a YOUTUBE video are my favourite but as with going to a class, there is always going to be a teacher who speaks to you more and its really about finding one that’s right for you.
All else fails… Yin
This by no means suggests that Yin isn’t as much as a yoga work out as power styles but as there are no standing postures, Yin yoga in the morning means you can stay on your bed in Child’s Pose for 5- 10 minutes and then if you want more, make your way on to your mat for some sustained, prop-heavy stretching that will wake up your entire body without a sun salutation in sight!