While nothing beats falling in love with a yoga studio there are times when having a home yoga practice is a very good thing. I learned this firsthand a few weeks ago, when I came down with nasty winter cold. On one hand, I knew physical exercise, such as a gentle yoga practice, would make me feel better. On the other, I didn’t feel right inflicting my loud, persistent cough and constant nose blowing on my fellow yogis. (What can I say—I’m serious about compassion.)
Instead, I spent the week rolling out my mat in my home office, which I transformed into a yoga studio for one. Finally, I was able to twist away toxins despite being quarantined. And even though I hate getting sick, part of me is grateful that it happened. If I hadn’t been forced to stay away from my studio, then I might not have realized how important a home practice can be.
If you’d like to welcome yoga into your home, follow these five tips for a great DIY practice. You’ll be saying “Om Sweet Om” before you know it.
1. Make Space
While putting my mat in my home office was supposed to be a temporary solution, I’ve since made it permanent. I keep my mat and props in the same corner, store some candles on the floor, and added a small Buddha statue to the corner. This dedicated space, as small as it may be, makes getting centered a snap.
2. Short and Sweet
If you can tackle a 90 minute flow or complete the Ashtanga primary series at home, more power to you. As for me, when I’m on my own I prefer to keep my home yoga practice on the shorter side. 20-30 minutes is enough to give me a good stretch without losing my focus or my form.
3. Push Yourself
One of the great things about going to a studio is being inspired by the advanced poses everyone else is practicing. At home, it can be easy to slip into Savasana after the first five minutes—after all, no one’s watching! Make sure you challenge yourself, even without an instructor there to encourage you.
4. Take It Outside
This is a fair-weather suggestion, but it’s a good one. Yoga is a wonderful way to connect to the wider world, but that can be hard to accomplish when you’re always indoors. Take your practice to the deck or put your mat on the back lawn. You haven’t lived until you’ve saluted the sun while it shines on your shoulders.
5. Be Consistent
When you practice at home, distractions abound. Between the laundry that must be folded, the dishes in the sink, and the dog that always wants to sit on your mat, putting off your practice can quickly become indefinite. Set aside a time each day, weather it’s first thing in the morning (my personal favorite) or right before bed. Then, make sure you show up and honor your promise to yourself.