h-OM-e... part 2
Practicing yoga at home is one of the best ways to explore your practice and take it to the next level. Whether you are following an online class or letting your body decide what pose to do next, your home practice is entirely your own. It’s during this time, when it’s just you and your mat, when you learn the most about yourself.
Getting into the habit of practicing at home can be difficult. I don’t know about you, but my house is filled with distractions… dogs, cats, a comfy couch, and usually a stocked fridge. Here are some key elements to my home practice that not only get me on my mat, but keep me there.
Because my rental is small and it’s hard to find a consistently quiet space to practice yoga, I’ve set up practice areas all over my house. But one of the best things about yoga is that it’s just you and your mat. So as long as you can find a spot to roll out your mat, you've taken the first step. Try to find a space with minimal distractions, but enough room to move freely around your mat. If you're practicing an online class you'll need to be near a source to stream it. Fortunately many of the online sites are compatible with smartphones and tablets so you aren't confined to your living room or office if you don't want to be.
Totally optional! But I like to set a certain vibe before I practice yoga. I've noticed some weird energy flowing through my house at times, so I always smudge with sage, in at least my practice room, beforehand if I'm feeling it or if I just want a little room cleanse before I start my flow. I also have a small alter with some items that are special to me, candles, incense, essential oils, and crystals. I always try to integrate meditation into my practice, so I keep my mediation chair or bolster, and some mala beads nearby.
Personally, a must have! Music makes me happy and it inspires me. It keeps me moving and helps prevent me from getting distracted, keeping me on my mat. My playlist also acts as a timer. If I know my playlist is only an hour long, then I can flow freely and not worry about what time it is. When the playlist stops I know it’s time to roll up my mat, or sometimes I just hit play again and keep on flowing! My best music advice is to choose music that fits your practice. If you're feeling a booty-kicking, heart-racing, muscle-shaking vinyasa choose an upbeat playlist- I always go for reggae, electropop (honestly didn't know that was a genre until I looked it up), or instrumental rap. If you're feeling a more slow-paced, alignment focused, relaxing hatha flow, slow down the tracks to keep the chill vibe - for this I like ambient, chillwave (also didn't know this was the name of a genre either), or more traditional kirtan music.
Props are always optional, but can be very valuable during your home practice. First you'll want a mat. There are endless options for yoga mats these days and while it can be overwhelming when you are trying to pick out a mat, you'll find that no 2 mats were created equally and there is a perfect mat out there for you (check out my post on how to select the perfect yoga at for you). Other props that can be useful are yoga straps, blocks, wheels, and even the wall (hmm I’m seeing a video opportunity here- stay tuned).
You certainly don't need to newest and cutest yoga outfit and accessories to practice yoga. Be naked if you want, you are in the comfort of your own home; I hear it’s quite freeing. But if you're like me and you're not quite at the practicing naked phase, as long as what you are wearing is comfortable and you can move easily, you are wearing the perfect outfit. My favorite practice outfit is a pair of leggings and a sports bra. It’s comfortable, doesn't get in the way while I'm practicing, and doesn't fill up the laundry hamper.
Just because you aren't in the studio don't forget your reusable bottle or since you're at home a big old glass of water. If you have to leave your mat in one room to go get water in the kitchen halfway through your practice, chances are you will get distracted and might not return to your mat (unless of course you are practicing in your kitchen). Also, when you have water near you during your practice there is a greater chance that you will actually drink it! Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
I can’t stress this enough, and I’m really taking this one to heart today after I struggled through my home practice this afternoon. Above all else, have fun! This is your time. Listen to your body, respect your practice, push yourself, and breathe. Some days I am feeling playful and I push myself into arm balances or try to take my current pose to a more advanced level. If you fall out of it, guess what, no one saw! Other times I just want to relax into each pose and stay there for 5 minutes, or I surrender to my practice and lay in savasana for 30 minutes.
Whatever makes you happy, do that!
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