5 Tips for Starting a Home Yoga Practice
I have fallen head over heals in love with yoga. It helps me to stay sane when things are really stressful, calms my anxiety when I feel out of control, and allows me to truly be in the present moment. While public classes are incredibly beneficial and play a crucial role in the yoga community, there is something very personal and sacred about a home yoga practice.
Getting started is easier than you think and you don't need anything super fancy. Below are five components I have found to be fundamental to my practice. Use them as a guide, then make it your own.
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Decide to show up for yourself.
The first and most important thing is not a fancy yoga mat or expensive props. It is simply to show up for yourself. Creating a yoga practice is one thing, sticking with it and reaping the benefits is another. Whether it's five minutes or an hour, make the commitment to show up on the mat. Know that you are worthy of taking this time and that you will be better off for it (and so will everyone else around you).
If you have an entire room to dedicate to yoga, great. If not, that's okay; use what you have. Right now my yoga space is part of the guest room. The key is to make it your own and let those you live with know that it's important to you. I like to keep my yoga mat rolled out in this space because it eliminates any excuse to not show up and it serves as a reminder every time I see it.
Speaking of yoga mats, they are the first thing you'll want to invest in. I have used several different mats and currently use this Gaiam mat. It's been really great but it's about that time to get a new one. I've had my eye on this gorgeous Manduka PROlite mat, and will be looking into getting one soon. There's no right or wrong here, just find one that feels most comfortable to you.
You have the space and you've rolled out your mat. Now what? The heart and soul of my home yoga practice is Adriene Mishler. She is the founder of Yoga With Adriene, the very best yoga YouTube channel there is. There are yoga videos of every length, to help with every ailment, and there's something for every level of practice - from day one newbie to advanced practitioner. Plus, she has a whole online community on Facebook that supports your home yoga practice in a really powerful way.
There is an entire world of yoga props and fun elements to add to your practice. They aren't necessary, by any means. But they can add another layer of depth. Here are a few of my favorites, including some you can make yourself (just to show you that you don't need a ton of money for a home yoga practice).
Bolster - these are really helpful in restorative yoga practices and for creating a more supported pose. You can purchase one here, or roll up an old yoga mat and wrap it in a comfy blanket (which is, no lie, exactly what's laying on my mat right now).
Blocks - I love to use yoga blocks to help in poses I can't quite get into just yet or to give me a little leverage. I personally use these Gaiam cork blocks, but you can also stack up a couple books or use a small box.
Essential Oils - this is a great way to enhance your practice. You can use different oils for a calming effect, grounding, or energizing. I prefer to diffuse the oils in the air with this diffuser, but you can also apply them topically to yourself or your mat. (If you're interested in essential oils, you can contact me here!)
Straps - these are good for easing your body into deeper stretches while keeping the rest of your body relaxed. You can purchase a strap like this one, or use my trick and grab a belt out of the closet!
No matter what type of yoga props you have or what your space looks like, the most important thing is to just show up for yourself. Allow your mat to be a sacred place where you can connect with your mind, body, and spirit. You deserve to feel your best. Take the time - you won't regret it.
Do you have a home yoga practice? What does it look like for you? Share in the comments below!