Millions of Americans do yoga. On an average weekend in a small city anywhere in the US, you can head to the museum for a yoga and wine class, practice with a traveling yoga instructor at your nearby studio, watch countless YouTube yoga tutorials, get your walk and yoga in while at the park, and visit one of hundreds of subscription yoga websites with downloadable content. And whenever or wherever you find yourself, it’s always acceptable to wear your yoga pants.
In a society with so much yoga, there still is an absence of information about constructing a home yoga practice. A healing art that once was centered on an individual yoga practice has been modernized into a social and group activity. (And thank goodness for that!) But when group classes stop serving their purpose, your intentions pull you on your mat at home, or you search for a supplement to your group classes, these ABCs will serve as a foundation for developing your unique at-home yoga practice.
A – Area
One of the biggest hurdles in cultivating a home practice is creating the space where we can retreat, escape, and center. Clearly defining your yoga space physically and mentally is one of the most essential pieces to maintaining a beneficial practice. Assess your options and pick a location that has the crucial components for you. For most of us, we need a space that has one or more of the following:
- Quiet relative to the rest of the home
- Organized in order for our mind not to wander to mess, chaos, or disorder
- Equipped with props, walls, windows, or a closing door; to your preference
Regardless of the specifics of your space, it’s crucial for the space to be clearly defined and appreciated as such. Explain the usage to your family, train your pets to acknowledge the rules surrounding the area, and spend energy turning the area (even if it’s your bathroom) into your yoga haven.
B – Balance
The content of your at-home practice is both extremely important and kind of not at all—let me explain. Initially creating the area and the consistency will be far more valuable to the longevity of your at-home practice. But eventually balance will need to present itself in the content of your practice.
Many find themselves creatively making up a sequence, adlibbing a past class they took, or working on the postures that they naturally excel at and gravitate towards—all of these tendencies create imbalance in the practice and then as a result in the body and mind. Work with a symmetrical sequence that has been passed down from a lineage, with a yoga teacher who can design a practice that suits your individual needs. If you are a yoga educator yourself, design an at-home practice that cultivates physical symmetry while working through your limitations as well as a powerful pranayama and meditation practice.
C – Consistency
In this example, consistency means two specific things: (1) arriving to the mat each and every time you’ve committed with an intention to grow and deepen your at-home yoga practice and (2) to move through a moving meditation that is specific, evolving and modifying, but consistent similar.
Fitting in time for yourself can read as awfully indulgent to others and more commonly gets neglected in order to meet the needs of others. Generally speaking, this is simply unacceptable. Finding regularity in your yoga practice requires carving out the time like you would for other commitments. It demands follow through, discipline, and at times, even compassion.
Creating an at-home yoga practice is a deepening of the practice of yoga itself. Finding room for growth, balance, and the dedication to follow through on your self-improvement can be challenging and also hugely rewarding. Allow the ABCs to guide you in the creation of your new yoga journey.