One of the most common things I hear from people who really want to start yoga is that they feel they have no discipline when it comes to a home practice. Believe me, I get it. I have struggled my whole time as a yogi and yoga teacher to have a consistent home practice. It seems we can come up with a zillion reasons/excuses as to why it’s impossible–no real place to practice, too many distractions, no privacy, and most common is lack of motivation.
Truth is all of those things can be overcome with some simple steps to hold yourself accountable. After all, we all know how valuable a consistent yoga and meditation practice is, otherwise we wouldn’t be dying to get back to the studio for the classes that were on the schedule, right? Many of us are now working from home and our practice is suffering when instead, there are a few simple things to do to get back to the mat, at home.
Here are five ways to overcome the excuses and develop a solid home practice.
- Set a schedule. If you are used to heading to the gym or studio for a Tuesday morning yoga class at 10am, then carve out the same time slot. Block it out in your calendar, set a timer, tell your family that hour is off-limits, and stick to it. Show up on time just as you would for the class at the gym but without the commute! Try for twice a week and watch what begins to happen.
- Choose a space. Let’s face it, not everyone is going to have a perfectly zen area in their home dedicated to yoga. No worries! You just need a space that is open enough to feel comfortable on your mat and perhaps a door to close. Light a candle, burn some incense or diffuse your favorite essential oils, and unroll your mat. Keep this space free of clutter, work items, and household chores like laundry to fold. Create a place that feels good, but let go of the idea that in order to practice it has to be perfect.
- Set boundaries. I love that yoga is called a practice because it truly does help us to see how we can apply the things we learn on the mat to our everyday life. Like boundaries. Decide first and foremost that you are worth it and then let your family know that you are giving yourself one precious hour. Feed your dogs and cats prior to practice and lock them out of the space or put them in a kennel–they will survive an hour without you. Turn off your phone. Yes, turn OFF your phone. If these things are hard for you, then revisit your worthiness and try again.
- Commit. Remember the first few times after you started to “get” this practice? You know, when your mind and your body came together into harmony and you started to feel something shift? Revisit that. Feel it. Does it really take a class on a schedule, in a germy gym with a bunch of strangers to motivate you? How about instead the physical health that you are developing? The reduction of stress your body is receiving? The peaceful state of being that your spirit feels? That should be plenty of motivation.
- It’s a practice. Remember, yoga is a practice not a perfection. Give your self some grace and try again. Any habit takes time to develop. Some say a new habit takes 21 days. How about trying 4-weeks of coming to the mat twice a week and see if you don’t develop a solid home practice that is based on self-love and cultivating a sense of self without the need to leave the sanctuary of your home.
The added bonus to all of this is that you will teach others around you the value of self-love and they just might see the peacefulness in you and make some changes themselves. It is after all a practice for the self, but it becomes selfless in how it enhances the lives of others as well. That is the ripple effect that we love to discover while on the mat.
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