Doing a self practice in the morning at home is never easy for me and I find it much easier to practice in a studio. Practicing at home is more of a challenge and simply finishing a practice can be an achievement! In a studio I am a lot more focused as I feel I am lifted by the collective energy of all the people in the room and the energy of the teacher holding the class.
However, I cannot always make it to my morning practice so I know that the best thing I can do for myself is to find ways to make it easier for me to practice at home! This way I am completely equipped to do my yoga practice where ever I am. I am independent and do not always rely on a teacher. This has been a challenge for me but along the way I have worked out a few tricks that make it easier to practice at home.
1. Set an achievable goal
When I am not feeling like practicing I find tell myself I am going to practice either just some sun salutations or a standing sequence and give myself permission to finish after this short session. By allowing myself that freedom, the practice is less daunting. In giving myself the permission to actually stop after a short time I am eliminate the battle I have with my mind that can prevent me from even starting a practice. Its strange but often I end up practicing for longer than I anticipated!
2. Practice asana’s that you are comfortable with
I try to not scare myself off before I have started the practice by saying to myself ‘it’s ok Tasha, you’re not going to practice anything you’re not yet comfortable with or that’s too much of a challenge’. I remind myself that when I am having trouble with something in my physical body it is related to my mental and emotional state, therefore I try to eliminate anything that is too challenging by just sticking to the postures I feel most comfortable with. This makes me more likely to get onto my mat and start my practice.
3. Focus on your breath more then the postures
On the days when I am finding it difficult to practice on my own and maintain my attention throughout the practice without getting side tracked I make sure that I pay attention to my breath as much as possible, even more then the asana. I find a useful trick is to breathe right into my collar bones and feel my chest expand in 4 directions. In front, behind and on both sides. Sometimes I use a phrase like ‘inner body bright’ and this really helps me focus my attention on my breath
4. Practice 6 second breathing
Before going straight into the practice I use an amazing technique called 6 second breathing. This is where I breath in and out for 6 seconds. Each inhale I fill my collar bones with breath letting my breath create space in my chest and exhale for 6 seconds. It’s amazing but it actually does help to eliminate some of the mental chatter and resistance I can find in my practice.
5. Take the time to focus your mind on your breath
There is no doubt about it, when I spend a few minutes before a practice, sitting with my legs crossed and just focusing my mind on my breath, my practice is dramatically different. My attention is more focused and my mind is clear. This results in me experiencing less ‘stories’ in my mind and I am less likely to experiences the battles I have with my mind that stop me from completing a practice at home.
6. Set an intention or dedication before each practice
The most important thing I can do in my practice is to set an intention or a dedication before each practice. Either dedicating the practice up to someone I love, someone who is ill or maybe someone who I am having troubles with at that moment. I also set an intention, a positive affirmation such as ‘I am full of love. I am abundant. I am calm’. I really see the intention or dedication in my heart and then I let the energy, frequency of the thought resonate out, passing it into the whole room.
It’s so useful to be able to practice yoga at home, especially when you are unable for any reason to go into a studio. I hope you have found this post helpful! If you have any more tips or questions, please comment below.