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It is a timeless struggle – having enough time to fit in the things of life. Even when it comes to the things we know are good for us. Beginning a home yoga practice may be one of those things. You may have heard about the benefits of a regular yoga practice and may have even put it on your “to-do” list. Once on the list, doubt and fear of not knowing how to do it “right” can arise and then we can head down that all too familiar slippery slope of procrastination and avoidance.
We will get to it when everything else is done, when we have the time, a perfect space, the right class or teacher, or when we know more. Sound familiar? As I began a practice, I used all these and more to excuse myself from my home yoga practice.
It wasn’t until a dark night of the soul that I truly committed to practicing yoga every day, but when I finally did my life changed for the better. It was profound, and yet even now at times I waiver, get busy, and make excuses. And then I remember that yoga high, that feeling of release and letting go, and knowing that all is well with my soul. That’s when I step back on the mat, and I practice letting go again, and coming home to that place inside that is always there, always waiting, and always at peace.
Although I will always attend group yoga classes as part of my practice, I can’t make it to a yoga class every day. That is where my home practice comes in. There are so many benefits to having a home practice that makes it worth serious consideration. Below are five benefits of a home yoga practice.
1. You can totally be yourself
It can be hard to maintain an inner focus when we are in a class setting with many distractions, including how others are doing yoga. Although we know yoga isn’t supposed to be competitive, it’s hard not to get caught up in looking around and comparing yourself to other class members. It can be easy to get intimidated. Sometimes we shy away from challenging poses when others are watching. At home, you are free to be you without worrying about how you look to others.
2. Deepen your internal awareness
One of the great benefits of a committed yoga practice is that we get better at connecting and being present with our inner awareness. Being more connected can help us with insight into our lives as we become more conscious of how we are living life, the ways in which our minds work, and the habits that hold us back from being who we truly are.
3. Design your practice to fit your mood
You do not have to take the time to design a practice each day. Begin to listen to and give your body, mind, and soul what it needs each time you come to the mat. The more you practice; the more this will become a natural organic process. Maybe one day you feel more like a restorative practice, but on another day, you need an active practice. If you require help at the beginning with what these look like, schedule some private lessons with your teacher or find a book that can guide you through simple practices based on need.
4. Tailor your practice to fit your personal needs
Your home practice is all about you, so whatever you want to work on can be incorporated into your practice. Do you need more upper body strength? Are you working on core strength, or maybe more stretching and opening in a particular area? Although it's nice to be able to touch the whole body with your practice, you can fine-tune your poses to work on your individual needs.
5. Take your practice anywhere
Once you have your practice it can travel anywhere with you. I have practiced in airports, parking lots, and even in line at the grocery store (much to the dismay of my children.) Sometimes life is just like that, and we have to be willing to fit yoga in where we are by being open to doing it differently than the norm.
There are many ways to practice yoga and to keep that commitment to ourselves, as long as we are open to the possibilities. It is important that we can look forward to our practice and that we are realistic in our commitment. If the time we spend on the mat is nourishing, then it can become a refuge of healing and for growing in self-knowledge. It is from this place that we can begin to experience the magic of yoga and the ability of a committed practice to enhance every aspect of our lives!