Mar 9, 2020

How to have a home practice - inspiration and tip checklist

Keeping and maintaining a home practice doesn't need to be complicated.  You only need to want to do it and continue to do it everyday.  Some days will be easier than others.  At times it will be very hard.  I have found that at the end of the day there is a dialogue between your body and mind.  If one goes dark, the other follows and vice versa.  A big part of being able to continue to show up is to observe this pattern and always be looking to encourage it toward the center.  Whatever that takes. Not too light and not too dark.  Not too hard and not too soft.  Not too much effort and not too little effort.  Not too tight and not too loose... etc.  Whatever that means to you on that day.

I love this practice of yoga.  It continues to feed my body and mind and I want that to continue for the rest of my life.  In order for that to happen, it needs to be sustainable.  After 20 years of practicing yoga I have found that the way to do that is to follow the only instruction that the Yoga Sutras give on asana -- that it should be "steady and sweet".

With "steady and sweet" in mind, here are some of my top tips on how to have a successful ongoing home practice.

It starts the day before
Set out your clothing - saves time in the morning.
Decide the location - time saver and also you don't want to get lost in thoughts trying to get ready.  You just want to be ready.
Try to eat for practice - a completely individual topic.  Maybe start with drinking more water and eating clean or eliminating processed foods.
Get your sleep.
Set your alarm.

Schedule it
Decide the day before what time you will start your practice.  Oh, and actually show up on your mat at that time.

Ramp up
Practice as close as you can to the time that you woke up.  Less time to get distracted.  It just makes things easier.
No screens - it will make life easier.
Bathe, brush teeth...basic hygiene.
If there's time between when you wake up and your practice time, try to fill it with something uplifting... read, meditate, burn incense, chant etc.

Set the scene
Essentially the fewer distractions, the easier it will be to get on and stay on your mat. Consider temperature, smells, sights, scents...

If you don't have one, start here - practice sheet and 5- minute yoga practice video
If you have one - keep it simple (breathing, vinyasa, dristhi, bandha, positive thoughts)
If you need help focusing - here is a list of free led classes on youtube

After practice
Take care of your temple - your body and mind
Sounds - Podcasts, youtube, chanting, music, nature, positive people, silence
Smells - fresh air, plants, essential oils, incense
Sights - Nature, read
Tastes - eat nourishing food
Be kind and patient with your self and others

Stay inspired
Join a class with a teacher when you can
Go on a yoga retreat or trip

This is just a quick list... I'll circle back. This post feels like a work in progress.

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