So you love your weekly yoga classes & you’re keen to establish a yoga practice at home? If you’re living with chronic illness or just living a busy life in a busy household you might find that it can be quite challenging to establish a daily practice at home. Motivation, distraction, interruption, the cat chewing the corner of your new yoga mat… these are all common challenges for even the keenest & most dedicated yoga practitioner. So here’s some tips to help you get started.

Jaye’s essential ingredients for establishing a daily yoga practice:  Love,  Simplicity, Timing & Support

LOVE: Students often ask me what pose they should practice at home & I always say: your favourite pose! Choose the pose you love, practice it every day & it will love you back. By practicing the asana you are most drawn to, you establish a strong & hopefully enduring connection to your yoga practice by grounding it in kindness, compassion & ease. So choose the pose that nourishes you, the pose that you can practice no matter how you’re feeling, the pose that welcomes you back like an old friend, the pose that you’ll enjoy spending time with every day.

SIMPLICITY: The most important thing about establishing a home practice is that you, well, practice! This sounds simple enough but can be surprisingly tricky to implement. So to begin with, keep it really simple & stick to just ONE pose & practice it every day. It’s far more effective to do 1 asana for 5 minutes every day & establish a solid, sustainable daily practice routine, than trying to do a sequence of poses that you can’t sustain over time. This is particularly important if you are managing fluctuations in energy or pain levels, as your practice will remain stable throughout those fluctuations. Practice your favourite pose every day until it becomes an integral part of your daily life. If you miss a day of practice, don’t worry simply return again the next day in the same way that you return the mind to the breath when it wanders, with gentleness & without judgement.

TIMING: Same mat time. Same mat place. At the beginning, getting into the groove of a daily practice is the main challenge. You’ll find it easier to integrate your yoga practice into your daily routine if you allocate a regular time for it. So choose a time of day that works for you, a time that you are reasonably confident that you can maintain. This might be a time by the clock (ie 5pm) or it may be relational time (ie before breakfast). Bear in mind it’s best not to practice yoga on a full stomach, but apart from that choose whatever time is most likely to help you succeed in practicing your favourite asana every day! Even a single asana practiced at the same time every day, will establish a bio-rhythm that has a regulating effect on the body & mind, as well as creating a foundation for expanding your practice in the future.

SUPPORT: In the same way that you take the yoga props you need to support your body to find ease in a pose, take what you need to support yourself to find ease in establishing & sustaining your practice.
Some practical supports include:

Attending classes regularly:  This feeds & strengthens your yoga practice at home.

The Yoga Mat: The yoga mat is a tangible link to your studio practice; where ever you are, when you step onto your mat, you enter yogic space.

Quiet Music:  Can help transform a space & create a focused & peaceful environment.

Community:  Practice with a friend!

And last but not least…

Your Yoga Teacher:  A yoga teacher is much more than an ‘instructor’, they are there to guide & support you in your yoga journey through life.

So choose the pose you love, practice it every day (if possible), at the same time (if possible), be disciplined, be flexible, be kind to yourself & gather the support you need to make yoga an essential part of your daily life.

Written by Jaye Hayes

Jaye teaches Yoga for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Restorative Yoga at Kundalini House from Monday -Wednesday.

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