In an ideal world, we would all have the access, time, and money to practice yoga in a studio whenever we want. Unfortunately, that is not the reality. As a teacher, I wish everyone could make it to public classes. It’s incredibly beneficial for the student, but also for the communities, businesses, and teachers. However, your yoga practice does not have to reside within a studio’s walls. I would rather someone do a little yoga than no yoga at all. So instead of giving up because you can’t make it to a studio, I encourage you to try starting a home practice.
It can feel daunting to practice yoga alone at home. I have been there! Initially I loved the idea but I was really great at coming up with excuses –
I don’t have the space.
I don’t have the time.
I don’t know where to begin.
But here’s the truth. You don’t need a room specifically for yoga. You don’t need a water feature, candles, or an alter, although of course you can have those things too. All you need is enough space to unroll your mat and yourself. I am lucky enough to now have a designated room for yoga, but I have practiced in the living room, on the upstairs landing, and on the floor next to my bed. I did some of my first classes in my tiny dorm room in college. Once you see you can commit to a consistent practice, it’s nice to set up a little yoga space, but don’t worry about that at the beginning. Find your momentum and then invest in a few props and some mood setting decor.
Once you find a place you can fit, you have to find the time. My biggest piece of advice – any amount of time you have is the right amount of time. I used to think I had to practice for at least an hour for it to count. Not true! Even if you only have 5 minutes, that’s enough time for a couple of poses. While I try to aim for 45 minutes, most days 20-30 minutes is all I have. And you know what? You can still get a lot done in that time.
To make it even easier, schedule in your practice like you would for a meeting. When I plan my week out and divvy up my to do list, I look for open pockets of time. Based on my schedule, I decide what days will be best to practice and I write it down. Because I have a pretty flexible schedule, I wait until the designated day arrives and first thing in the morning I plan when I’ll fit it in. For some, it’s best to schedule it the same day at the same time every week, but for you that might not work. Decide what amount of flexibility you need. But once it’s on your calendar, honor it.
But what do you do when the time comes? That is the final, but often hardest, hurdle to overcome. Lucky you, there are so many free or cheap tools out there. Initially, I recommend following an online class. They allow you to slow your brain down and get you moving in your space with a little bit of guidance. It breaks that initial barrier that seems so scary. But once you’ve done yoga in your home a few times, it gets so much easier.
One of my favorite free options is Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, and of course I have a few older classes on my own channel. While they require a monthly fee, I absolutely love the teachers and classes on Yoga International. On there, I can practice with my teachers Noah and Rocky, but if I want something different, I can also use the search bar to find a class based on level or style. YogaGlo is another popular streaming site. Some teachers have their own services too, like Kait Hurley‘s Move + Meditate method and Bad Yogi.
Once you feel comfortable practicing in your space, listen to your body and move how you want to move. I thought I had to use my home practice to work on poses I couldn’t do or didn’t like, but that often turned it into a task versus a chance to move and have fun. For example, a few weeks ago I started doing a harder, fast paced practice and about 20 minutes in I realized I was dreading the next 20 minutes. So I stopped the video, pulled out my bolster and blocks, and did a restorative practice instead. It ended up being exactly what I needed. It’s okay to do what you already know and love. Follow your body and your heart. Move in a way that feels good. Your practice will become something you look forward to, not another box to check off.
Creating a home practice does not have to seem impossible. I cherish the classes and workshops I get to attend, but I equally value my home practice that supplements them. Implement these tips into your yoga and see what happens.
If you have any questions or personal struggles, share them in the comments below and I will do my best to help you out!