Creating a Home Practice

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by Contributing writer Jessica Patterson

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Being a mom of 4 kids under ten years old doesn’t leave me with much time for yoga classes or trips to the studio. We have piano lessons, band, sports, and family activities. Not to mention all of the regular chaos known as life. A few months ago I started to feel the glare of my yoga mat peering at me; curious when it would be unrolled and danced upon in rhythmic salutations. I knew that it was time to get back to a regular home practice. Something that offered me a space to practice as well as the convenience of never leaving the house to do so. With a few tips it's easy to get your own home mojo on!

  1. Create a space-Nothing fancy required. Sure, it's nice to have a room with an altar and perfect lighting. But, this is real life and it's rarely perfectly organized -particularly mine (hello mounds of laundry and Legos® on the floor). Work with what you've got. If you have room for a mat, you have room for a practice. Just make sure that you can fully stretch out for a nice and juicy savasana. Add some essential oils in a diffuser or gemstones and sage nearby and you have an inviting space.
  1. Declutter- This is time for you to connect within so remove all external distractions. That mound of laundry from tip has to be out of sight. There is nothing Zen about pressing into an upward facing dog and rolling back my shoulders, only to find a mountain of clean laundry (aka Clean Mountain) staring back at me. The cellphone is also a huge distraction. Phone calls and alerts from incoming emails will only disrupt your focus. If you are worried about time, set an alarm but have it somewhere out of sight. Honor YOUR time on the mat as you would honor a teachers time in the yoga studio.
  1. Keep props organized and accessible- By using a consistent space it's easy to have a little stack of props on hand. This is necessary to keep your practice both exciting and progressing. I’m far more prone to work on full pigeon if I have a strap right next to me. And it is a lot less scary to explore the amazing benefits of using a prop in the privacy of my own home. This also includes bolsters and blankets for a restorative or yin practice (or that extra juicy savasana I mentioned). You can even try doing a whole practice against a wall for a different experience.
  1. Begin with the basics- If you aren’t sure where to start, learn a sun salutation or a few basic poses. From there you can get creative with different interpretations of the poses, stretching and moving with your own breath. There is no "right" way to do yoga. Slowing down or speeding up the same series of poses can change an entire practice as well. Listen to what your body is asking for by moving through asanas with intention and feeling where you are on any given day. Pssstttt.....this changes every single day! It’s important to push outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, too. Find one or two poses that you can work on each time you are on your mat and it will bring an element of play to your yoga. Some days I get 10 minutes in, other days I practice for almost an hour. Make your home practice work for your lifestyle!
  1. Flexibility- It would be wonderful to make a date with yourself at the same time each day but that’s just not always possible. I’m an early riser, so I get on my mat before the household gets going. But there are plenty of times where the kids are up in the middle of the night or we have somewhere to be early morning. I look at this as a chance to change up my practice. Maybe do a few yin poses to end the evening and send me off to bed feeling blissful. Have some grace for yourself and the fact that we all get busy. Yoga isn’t just about being on your mat, it’s also about how we respond to the world around us.

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