Living on a Peace Corps budget in Namibia has meant that I can’t afford a membership to a yoga studio anymore. I realized that if I wanted to keep yoga in my life I would have to learn to practice at home, something I was never very good at in America. There are challenges but here are a few things I’ve figured out:
- Keep it Regular. I practice most mornings for maybe 20-30 minutes. I do some sun salutations, backbends and twists. It feels good in the morning. Then 3 or 4 times a week I will commit to practice for the full 90 minutes. At 5:30, after I get home from work, I know that I need to roll out my mat because class is about to start.
- Find Some Good Podcasts. Podcasts have saved me. I feel like I’m actually in a studio, a lot of podcasts are recorded during an actual class. There are hundreds of free yoga podcasts so every practice is different. I really let myself be in the studio. I laugh with the class, adjust when the instructor reminds of alignment, and always clap with everyone else at the end of class. I have my favorites listed here for you to check out. They all have their own style but you will certainly work up a sweat in any of these podcasts. Three Dog Yoga, MBody Yoga, and Philip Urso.
- Set the Mood. Just because you are practicing at home doesn’t mean you should skimp on the ambiance. I practice I my room so before I start I make sure all the laundry is put away (or hidden 🙂 ) so I have no distractions. It can really spoil the mood when you are in down dog looking at a pile of laundry. I also light some candles it helps make practice time feel special and remind me that I am in my yoga space.
- Improvise. I wasn’t able to bring my blocks and straps across the Atlantic so instead I keep rolled towels and a belt to assist when I need it.
- Invite friends. There is no substitute for the energy of practicing in a group. So invite friends to join you at home or take your practice outside. Either way it adds new energy and keeps it exciting.
If you are new to yoga you probably want to stick to the poses you know during practice and study new poses after. I have two yoga encyclopedias that I use to look up poses that I have never heard of and then You Tube them to see the pose in action. Listen to your body it knows it’s limits. If you can it’s a good idea to practice once a month or so with a trained teacher just as a check on your alignment. I hope this helps. I have been practicing yoga for seven years, practicing at home for the past year and always learning. I would love to hear your tips on home practice.