Home Practice How-To

Home practice how-to

A Home Practice How-To just for you.  A lot of people want to start a home yoga practice and for good reason! You are your body’s own best friend, expert, and teacher, and a home yoga practice is a powerful way to nourish those important relationships with yourself. Not to mention, home practice is convenient and free.   Now, I’ve got podcasts for you to do at home – oh boy do I have them. But, if podcasts are not your bag I have good news – creating a home practice is way easier than you may think!

I’ve made up maybe a billion yoga sequences to lead people through (ok, that’s an exaggeration but it feels like that) in my years teaching.  Someone from one of my yoga sessions emailed me today asking for help with creating a home routine.  I was shocked at how easy it felt for me to give him some foundations.  Of course, like I said, I’ve done this a billion times so it seems simple to me – I have a formula and ready-made templates for this stuff.  That’s the key: creating a home practice can be accomplished with a simple formula or outline.  If you have been attending led yoga practices for a while, say a year or more, I’d feel comfortable sharing my home practice formula with you.  Promise to practice with compassion and sensitivity and it’s all yours:

1)Centering: This could be as simple as standing or sitting tall and taking three deep breaths. Or perhaps you have a prayer or breath practice you want to start with.
Tip: Thing about why you’re doing yoga asana (postures) right now.  Identify the reason and let that reason help guide your practice.  Do want energy? To calm down? To practice discipline? Remind yourself of the reason you’re practicing as you go.


2) warm – up:  what things do you like to do to get loose?
Example: Chill in child’s pose; cat + cow; rolling bridge; seated belly churns/circles; gentle shoulder/arm movements; dance or shake you body gently; march in place. There’s no rules, really.
Tip: Keep it GENTLE


3) Sun Salutations: do whatever sun salute you know and like. 1 round? 2 rounds? 3? It’s up to you!
Tip: if you don’t remember any Sun Salutes by heart yet, here’s a picture to jog your memorySunSalA


4) Standing and balancing poses: This will be the easiest part because you know your faves.
Example: Triangle, Warrior, Extended Side Angel, Tree and its variations.
Tip: Don’t forget to do both sides, and don’t worry about doing a fancy transition in between the postures. Just step to the top of your mat and start over with the other side.
Tip: My teacher used to say to hold each posture 3 breaths. 5 for extra credit. 10 if you really like extra credit.


5) Seated Postures 
Example: Forward bends, butterflies, pigeons, seated twists. Again, pick what you like.
Tip: Get out a blanket and sit on the edge of it.  If you’re used to using bolster for certain postures, couch cushions work well. No strap? Well, have you got a belt? a dog leash? a rope?


6) Supine (laying on your back) Postures 
Example: Twists, figure 4, happy baby, bridge pose, laying down hamstring stretch.
Tip: You’re getting ready for Savasan so keep it gentle and slow your breath down – particularly your exhalation.


6) Savasan – Ok maybe THIS will really be the easiest part.

Tip: I ALWAYS set a timer because if I don’t I will worry about how long I’ve been laying there. Set the timer and do your best to let your mind either concentrate on your breath or just let go.

home practice how-to

Savasan how-to by my dog whose name happens to be Shanti

You could just do ONE thing in each of the seven sections and you’d probably have a good 15 minutes or more of practice!


Good practice guidelines in the yoga studio all apply to your home practice  – do each side or leg, and NO pain, burning, struggling or forcing allowed, EVER. And always breathing.  (Secret tip: Even just laying on your back and breathing could be your home practice!)


Three final hints – when you’re first starting out your self-led home practice, do the postures you like best and are most familiar with. The ones that make you say “ahhhhhhh.” That way you’ll be more motivated to actually do it.  Second hint –  turn off your phone.  It’s practically guaranteed that you will get a phone call once you sit down on your yoga mat.  Third hint – if you enjoy music, play it!  Don’t worry about creating a yoga playlist, just use your favorite album or put your iPod on shuffle. Use a relatively low volume (so it won’t distract you) and let it inspire your movement.


So that’s it! Your home practice awaits! Go forth and meet your own inner teacher!


P.S. If you would enjoy a led home practice check out my podcasts here and on Audible Yoga.testimonial2_audible_yoga