What is Keeping you From a Home Practice

Now is a great time to explore practicing at home, and there are so many online classes being offered online!

Having a home practice is no longer a choice. We are now over a month into the Covid-19 pandemic and with all of the uncertainty of when yoga studios and gyms will be able to reopen in our area or any area for that matter, now is a great time to explore practicing at home. 

Some of you have already slipped into your rhythm and embraced this new pace of life. There are so many online classes being offered, not only by our teachers at Longview Yoga Wellness, but from teachers all around the globe. It is a fantastic time to explore the many different styles of yoga that exist and the many different interpretations of those styles as well.

I have loved hearing the feedback from some that have been enjoying our offerings from our teachers at LYW, but there are many that are finding it challenging to make the adjustments from an in studio to an in home practice. 

For those of you that have found it hard to roll out your mat at home, I wanted to offer some insight and some tips that may help you examine what is keeping you from your yoga practice. 

The first thing that you may ask yourself is, "Why am I finding it difficult to get on my mat at home?" Self Inquiry is a huge part of learning how to practice on your own and it will help develop both your physical and spiritual practice. 

Figuring out what is causing you to skimp out on something that was so important to you prior to the "stay at home and play by yourself order", may help you deepen your practice more than any pose could. 

What stops you? 

Distractions, accountability, and community are some reoccurring themes that make it hard to practice at home. A yoga practice will help strengthen focus/concentration, discipline, and connection which are the tools necessary to break through those aforementioned boundaries. 

If you are easily distracted in a studio practice where conditions are being set up for you to have the optimal experience, then distractions at home can be hard to mitigate. It's likely that you are not living in a yoga commune which means your need for peace and quiet for your practice will be greatly misunderstood or ignored. 

I find it incredibly hard to get on my mat when everyone is awake and bumbling around the house. My strategy to help reduce distractions and get in a good practice, (which for me is yoga, meditation, and breath practice), is to get up before anyone else does, including the dogs.

If getting up early does not appeal to you, there are more ways to reduce distractions. 

- Set up a quiet space in your home. Maybe this is in your bedroom or a spare bedroom. Donna Farhi recommends keeping pets out of the practice space and although I don't always ascribe to this, I do find the fur kids as distracting as real kids sometimes. 

- Choose a time of day when you are less likely to be distracted. A big "to do" list can cause you to feel like you need to be doing something more productive than taking care of yourself, so in this case I recommend either starting or ending your day with yoga. You can think of the practice as a way to prepare you for that list or to be a recovery practice at the end of the day to restore you to balance. 

- Make a request. This is a great time to learn how to express yourself and set an example for the others in your home. It won't take long for your family to notice that when they allow you time to do something for yourself, you are much more patient and compassionate to their needs. Let your family know that you are taking time out for a practice and ask them not to disturb you. Maybe your spouse can help out with the kids and the pets. This may be hard if you are the one that typically takes care of everyone else but it is a great way to practice communicating your needs and limiting distractions at the same time. 

If you are used to practicing with friends, accountability could be the missing factor. I can remember when I first started running, I went with a friend. Some mornings, if it were not for her, I would not have gotten on the trail. It was knowing that she might be disappointed that gave me the ummph to literally get up and go. I was always so glad that I had that buddy system in place. It was that accountability buddy system that helped me develop a good exercise habit. 

This one is a little trickier to work on considering no one knows if we are still in our robe or not. 

- Get on a schedule. A good way to continue to have that accountability is to "get together" and choose some classes that you will do for the week. This could be a fun way to collaborate and it will give you something to talk about. All of us are craving that human connection and what better way to come together than something you both equally enjoy! 

- Invite a family member to become your accountability buddy. I have had many of my students tell me how their spouses are the ones that encourage them to come to yoga. This is a great time to invite them to do it with you. This can introduce them to the practice without the stress of them having to be in the class setting. It is a great way to introduce your family to some of your favorite instructors as well as explore new ways of being together.

The sense of community is one of the hardest things to overcome in this time of social distancing and self isolation. I recently saw a student out at a local store and it made me yearn for our little community of like minded thinkers. Rick, my husband, is great company but he is not one to chatter on about the mind, body, spirit connection other wise known as all things yoga. 

Being able to share our experiences with each other and connect with that communal energy is what a great in studio yoga experience can offer. That is not easy to come by at home and I can not make the promise that anything that we do at home will replicate a studio class nor is it supposed to. We are living in a different time and there are so many ways to support community growth and share that feeling of connection. 

- Take a live online class. As a studio, we did our fist live class for the students of LYW this past week and the response was great. Students joined early and stayed after to chit chat and catch up. It was much the same as if we were all together in the studio. There was a warmth to it that was incredibly satisfying. It was also nice to put a face to the pets we all share about, as they made there debuts into our community practice. 

- If you can't make the live class or don't belong to a studio community, try Facetime or Skype. You can take a class with a small group and make it an event. Most of us have access to more than one device and this can be a cool way to share a yoga experience and "get together". 

It is no doubt that many of our lives typical routines have been disrupted but to put your practice on hold and feel like you can not continue your practice until things go back to "normal" would be a disservice to all of the progress you have made on your mat. In fact there is no better time to practice presence than when we are out of our set routines. We are more focused and aware to the newness around us and this can help create so much depth in even the most simple things that we do on our mat.