Have you every noticed that yoga instructors have a certain set of things that they usually talk about in class? One teacher might talk a lot about “letting go.” Another teacher might mention meditating or eating healthy. What I have learned (because I AM a yoga teacher) is that we all preach to you about what it is that we are working on ourselves! It’s not that we think you’re the same as us…it’s just that this item is forefront in our minds. It’s our topic for the week so we share what we’re learning!
The thing that is forefront in my mind this week is my home yoga practice. Having been a yoga instructor for several years you’d think that I would have a long, burgeoning home yoga practice right? Nope. Although I’ve tried over and over to commit to a practice at home but it never happened. I just couldn’t seem to find the time or be dedicated to get on my mat consistently. Until recently. I now have a daily home practice that I LOVE. So here is what I have learned.
Find a place. You must have a space dedicated to your practice. I suggest a separate room with a door that you can close. If that’s not possible then it needs to be a place where you won’t be disturbed. Decorate this space with things you love. When you come into the space it should make you feel happy and glad to be there. Your body should literally go, “Ahhhhhhhh!” Put up inspirational quotes or photos that you love. Choose lighting that makes you feel groovy – nothing too harsh, something soft and natural. Light a candle if you like or have some incense. Your mat should be spread out in invitation always so you can just walk onto it…..none of this “rolled up in the corner” crap.
Find a time. I have found that it’s really important to have my practice at the same time every day. For me, this is the first thing in the morning right after my coffee. If mornings don’t work for you that’s fine. Just pick a time – the same time every day – and commit to it. It will be easier for you to be consistent and it will also be easier for your family to remember that this is your time. Guard this time with your superhero abilities. Don’t double book yourself! Say NO if someone asks you to do something during your yoga time! Be strong! Don’t cave. Also – you do not have to take an hour. You might want to just start with 10 or 15 minutes and work up to longer if you like.
Find a Teacher. I know this is your home practice but you will need someone to guide you and inspire you and answer your questions. Unfortunately this will be like dating. You will have to kiss a few toads before you find the right one for you. It’s good to get into a studio to be with like-minded people, check in with your mentor, ask any questions you may have. In fact, you may even want to do a private yoga session to have them check your alignment and suggest poses for specific things you want to work on. If you’re just not a studio person there are lots of great teachers online. Watch a few videos and find one whose language and personality are attractive to you. You will tend to stick with your practice if you admire your teacher.
Find a Style. You may be the type of person who just needs time to meditate every day. Or maybe you need a hot power flow to get your blood pumping. You may love inversions….or not. Try different types of yoga, see what makes your body feel good (and it SHOULD feel good), helps your mind to focus and leaves your heart feeling happy. Not every practice is for every person. Shop around, try them all and cherry pick what works for your body.
Find the Love. To commit to a daily yoga practice is to show love to yourself and that is a GOOD thing! Some of us really struggle with this. We have busy lives and it seems like everyone else comes first. It can be easy to push our practice out-of-the-way until it’s been years since we stretched, meditated or balanced. But to be able to give and give and give…we first have to fill our own cup. We have to take time to care for ourselves so that we can then care for others. It is NOT selfish. It is self – care You are worth it and it will make you a better person.
I hope these tips are helpful. I know it’s working for me. I hope you can find the Place, the Time, the Teacher and the Style that works for you…..and most importantly the Love to care for yourself!