You will never guess what I did in the first year of my home practice. At this time, I was still rolling out the mat at the studio daily, yet in the afternoons I began to work at home on postures that intrigued me. I considered it a fun new challenge to add to my yoga journey.
I didn’t have the best yoga space at first. We were renting an apartment at the time that had a small loft right above the kitchen that I deemed my yoga space when we first hauled our stuff into its empty rooms. It was a super small space for yoga, especially since I also put a huge papasan chair in the corner, but I was determined to make it work.
At the time, I was obsessed with learning headstand. And, so each day I’d throw my legs up the wall at the top of the stairs haphazardly, making an audible knocking sound as my heels made contact. I had no idea what I was doing, but you learn from experience, right? Right.
Every time my husband heard that knocking sound, he’d shout up to me, “What are you doing, babe? It sounds like you’re going to put a hole in the wall.”
“I’m not. Not even close. I’m trying to figure out headstand.” I called back at him, my voice a little strained from talking upside down.
You could hear him sigh in exasperation and I would roll my eyes. This conversation happened too many times to count.
And, then one spring day, on the last day school was in session, when Jeffrey would come home and we’d celebrate the fact that we had a whole summer ahead of us, it happened.
I was once again in my yoga space working on headstand, when an idea clicked in my mind that made think I understood how to take myself away from the wall. So, I went into the middle of this super tiny space, and gave it a go. I was sure I was headed into the big breakthrough that would get me upside down without assistance.
But, that’s not what happened. Instead, I flipped over my head and on the way down, my knee caught the wall and, I did, in fact, put a three-inch hole in the wall. Doesn’t it suck when you prove your husband right?
I wasn’t hurt. I mean my ego took a huge hit. But, other than the wall, there were no casualties. And, luckily, my husband is handy enough that he was able to patch the hole, so no one could tell it even happened.
Now why am I telling you this story this week? The point is I wouldn’t have had this adventure, had I not stepped on my mat at home. It’s a story my husband and I have laughed about for years now. And, after this whole event, I started to do the real work and ask the questions I needed to, to work to achieve headstand. I had to have the “failure” to gain the success.
That’s why a home practice is so supremely valuable. You have the chance to explore, to stay a little longer with something, and to be open to the ever-evolving journey that is a well-rounded yoga practice.
So, this week I wanted to share with you some tips for home practice success. If you are practicing less because you don’t have a studio to attend at the moment, you have yet to develop the discipline to step on your mat at home, or have no idea how to start on your own, keep reading – this post is for you.
Find a good space. Hopefully, it’s bigger than my first at-home yoga space, but it doesn’t have to be. Make sure you do have some space to work, though. A couple of feet on each side of the mat and a solid surface is best. Also, a blank wall nearby also is a handy thing to have, as doing wall work can help you make new realizations about a posture.
Keep your tools close. You never know when a block or bolster can give you a hand. If you practice self-myofascial release techniques have that stuff close by, too.
Practice at the same time each day. Set a routine. If you used to go to a studio at 4pm, step on your mat at the same time. Or, if you always wanted to practice in the morning and now you have time for it, make it happen for you at that time. Home practice is a habit like anything else. You have to choose to do it, until it becomes your new normal.
Check in with your instructor. Okay, so this is a big one. Just because you are practicing at home, doesn’t mean you don’t need instruction. Take a virtual class, book an online private session, or download an online class. I recommend you do this at least once a week. It will wake you up to new ideas, provide structure for your journey, and give you a chance to connect with other yogis like you.
What an opportunity we have right now with most yoga instructors jumping online. If you’ve always wanted to take a class from a particular instructor, this might be your chance. If you want to reconnect with an instructor that you haven’t taken from in a good long while due to distance or just change in schedule, get back to it.
Let go of your expectations. Home practice strips down your yoga practice to the bare minimums. You don’t have all of the amenities provided by a studio. Roll with that. Notice what you actually need to maintain your practice. It’s not much, when you get right down to it. And, when you return to a studio, notice how grateful you are for that space, too.
I hope this helps. I hope you decide that yoga is still for you even when you are at home. Your practice is what you make it. You can do this. Your yoga practice is a valuable tool to maintain your physical and mental health and this is not the time to forget about it. It’s a time to take it somewhere new.
If this post inspired you to step on your mat today, share it with a yogi friend. Here's the link: https://meetmeonyourmat.yoga/5-tips-to-achieve-yoga-home-practice-success
Tori Hicks-Glogowski is a yoga instructor and yoga business coach and mentor for yoga teachers. She is the author of the book, "Views from the Podium: The Life & Times of a Hot Yogi," and has been writing and sharing her yoga experience for the past seven years. Find out more about Tori now.