There's been an absolute revolution in the yoga world and that is at home yoga. There's loads of ways to do it from online live classes, on demand memberships, and even the world of self-guided practice - this is something of an expert area of mine, I've even written a book all about teaching and facilitation of yoga at home too!
However, many people find practicing at home really hard to get to grips with for a number of reasons. In this blog, I'm sharing my key tips and tricks to making yoga at home work for you.
Accept and embrace that it isn't the same as going to a physical class. different doesn't equal less than.
Of course not - any teacher who says it's the same experience is lying out of their backside.
When you come to a physical class, you're in a very minimal space with no furniture that is neutral, it smells nice and there's music playing often - the teacher spends time and energy on creating an experience for you to come into. You're also physically coming away from your own space and into a neutral space, or someone else's studio.
When you are at home you are in your space, with your things, life, family and pets around you. You're now in charge of creating that experience rather than your teacher doing it for you.
Different isn't less than and it's okay to have multiple different experiences in your yoga life and practice. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
Go in with an open mind and try it. If you're going in to a home practice thinking you're not going to enjoy it before you start, you're putting yourself on the back foot and that'll affect your enjoyment. You can be neutral and say something like "I'm open to trying this new experience" and then see how you feel when you reflect, and it can take a couple of experiences to actually decide if you truly don't like it or if it's you picking up on the fact that the experience isn't identical to what you're used to.
You might also want to try live classes, and on-demand content and see how you get on. Some people love live online classes and don't like on-demand classes. I have members who love the on-demand content in the Pride Pack Virtual Studio - everyone is different and it's really worth being open to experimentation (especially now many of you have access to the huge library of Pride Pack content with your memberships!)
There's quite a few philosophy lessons here about all of this. First up, Santosha (the second of the Niyamas) is all about contentment. There are now so many more ways for you to practice and support your wellbeing through yoga, and that's something to be happy about - not get bogged down in the fact that its different. Change is good and it's the only way we evolve and grow.
Dharana (focused concentration) and Dhyana (meditative absorption - the sixth and seventh of the Eight Limbs of Yoga) are really relevant here, because your practice requires you to be present and focused on what you're doing... so really, does it matter how you're doing it or where? No... not if you're really practicing yoga beyond surface level asana.
Designate a yoga space
Further to point one, a key thing is designating a yoga space. It could be a spare room if you have one, if not you can totally practice in your lounge, or bedroom. This is the space you're always going to come to when you practice at home - this creates a similar feel to when you come out to a physical class with me - you go somewhere, there's ritual and routine.
The space will need to be about as long as a mat with a few inches either side, you don't need oodles of space.
Grab all your gear, a basket or drawer and get everything in that place. That way, when you come to practice you know where everything is, and you can set yourself up quickly and easily.
You can also add a bit of ritual into your practice, having some low level lighting like lamps and candles, using a yoga mist before you get started and before your Savasana relaxation are all really nice ways to create that feel and vibe that your teacher will create for you at a physical class.
Most of my practice is at home on my own. I use my Studio - which is of course, my workspace, too. So one of the things I do is change the orientation and position of my mat so there is a point of difference between asana for teaching, and asana for myself. I also use different candles for myself and different music too.
Boundaries with your fam (and pets)
A key complaint I hear often is "my kids/pets won't leave me alone" or "the doorbell always goes"
There's a few handy strategies here....
If you don't want to be disturbed - have a conversation with your family and say something along the lines of "it's my special time for myself, I'll be [insert time]. I'd really appreciate it if you don't disturb me during that time. When I'm finished, we'll do [insert activity]" Everyone needs boundaries and if you don't state them, how are they going to know? The only people who get upset about boundaries are the people who gain an advantage from you not enforcing them.
It's okay to not answer the door! (if you knocked on my door and I wasn't expecting you... I don't ever answer it!) Just because someone knocks doesn't mean they require your immediate attention. Pop a note on your front door asking parcels to be left, or people to come back later.
If you've got pets who are annoying, shoo them out and shut the door! I practice with Layla, Socks and Fudge around cos they watch or cuddle up with me, which is nice but I can't have them around when I teach from home - so I shut the door.
If your kids or family members are curious - get them involved! It could be something you do together and kids really benefit from what yoga teaches them. Get them their own mat, and they can follow along if you fancy.
Put it in your diary
Treat it like you're going to a physical class - ring fence the time in your diary and stick to it.
Put an alert on your phone so you know when it's time to get ready for practice, and go!
If you find it hard to do, consider an online live class. The class starts at a set time, so you've got to be there - and the space is being held for you virtually.
If you want to try an on-demand practice, make yourself a little habit tracker. Decide when you're going to practice and tick it off and give yourself a small treat once you've done a set number. It's a bit like a chore chart... but fun! It helps you get into a routine and habit, and also rewards you so you get that dopamine hit for your efforts too.
Your practice doesn't have to be an hour.
It can be 5 mins. Most of the classes on the Pride Pack Virtual Studio are 30-45 mins, with some as short as 15 mins, breath and mediations from 5 mins upwards.
It's all totally valid practice!
There's my round up of at home yoga tips. Do you have any you'd like to add?
Feel free to drop them in the comments!