Making one class a week but want to do more? While one class a week is better than none, my experience and research shows that we have to be practicing at least three times a week to maintain muscle length and strength, as well as cardiovascular and mental benefits.
That said, the time and perhaps financial commitment of attending a group class may not always be forthcoming, which is why a home practice is perfect. In the last blog, I provided a number of resources for online yoga classes that can work to integrate a regular home practice which then may lead to a personalised self-practice (or maybe not!)
Teaching yoga in Manchester and beyond for over 5 years, one of my biggest passions is helping others to use yoga to empower themselves, and practising at home alone is certainly empowering. Unlike a class, we are still in an environment that is conducive to entertaining, cooking, caring for others, cleaning, working, etc. so it takes a great amount of willpower and determination to shift gears and enter into a world of self-care and nurture.
With just a few alterations though, it can be done.
5 tips to create a home studio
Is that a stray sock? A cable trying to break free? Or a hairbrush on the table? Move, move, move! Preparing to do a yoga practice is a little like doing exam revision: any distraction will beckon us to abandon good intentions, and begin tasks that are usually boring. Before beginning a practice, look around the room, see what distracts you, then move it.
Infuse the room with scent
Find a scent that makes you feel good and infuse the room with it. At group classes, I use an organic lavender room spray to encourage the sense of wellbeing through the sense of smell. By having a different, welcoming scent, our mind is coaxed into feeling secure which allows for less resistance to the practice ahead.
My first experiences of yoga was in a room filled with soft lighting and I immediately felt at ease. Over the course of nine years, I’ve practised in many different environments, but it’s always those filled with either natural light or soft artificial light that have been most conducive to the sense of settling in and introspection. If you’re practising in the evening or early morning, have one or two lamps on with a low wattage, and perhaps even light a candle.
A notepad and pen
The mind does not automatically shut off when we throw a few shapes on the mat, in fact, there may be endless to-dos that are screaming for attention as we create more space through our directed attention to breath and movement. Instead of feeling compelled by to-dos, keep a notepad and pen by the side of you, and write down each one as it arises; in doing so, there’ll be no worry of forgetting and you can assess just how important these are after the practice.
It’s easy to create a noise-free space if we live alone, but it can be challenging with children. That said, it’s not impossible. The fact that you’ve made the commitment to practise (irrespective of the length) shows that there’s a desire to dedicate a small amount of time to yourself, so simply telling others that you’ll be uncontactable for the next so-and-so minutes highlights to yourself and loved-ones how important the practice is to you, which is a powerful tool in itself. Oh, and on the point of contact, divert all calls to answerphone!
Creating a home-practice may not be for everyone, but if you’ve read this far, then you’re probably that person who wants to do more but just need a little guidance on where to begin. If you have any other tips, please feel free to comment!