I often hear yogis contemplate and then dismiss home yoga practice. Sometimes, I'm even privy to their 'tried that and failed' home yoga anecdote. And almost always, it obvious that there was a disconnect between their desire to try home practice and a yoga practice that actually aligns with that intention. But home practice can be a big time and money saver, and it also allows us to get in touch with being our own teacher as well as being our own student.
As a curator of home yoga practitioners and an educator for private yoga teachers, I take my job of educating yogis on the foundation of a home practice, the cornerstones of sequencing, and the elements to hold it all together very seriously. One of the essential components of having a lasting home practice is aligning your intention with the quality, energy, and focus of the content of your practice.
I created an acronym called the MATS Method to help my clients create sound sequences and aligned home practices.
Here is the MATS Method!
When carving out a home practice, ask yourself what the minimum amount of movement, meditation, and maintenance is that you need to fulfill your desires and to leave you feeling your mental and physical best upon completion. Some days you may elect to spend 90 minutes on the mat, some days you may only have 15 to spare.
Some of us need a lengthy practice and others need more meditation than asana. All that matters is that you get clear about what you need for a minimum – in duration and daily/weekly – and then create a practice that is effective and potent so you can fit all the other activities that fuel you.
A: Address (what are you trying to address?)
Often we come to the mat with a focus or a part of our body or mind that we need to address or highlight with the help of our yoga practice. Consider whether you need a home yoga practice that addresses an imbalance – injury, dissymmetry, ailment, distractions – and then formulate a yoga practice around bringing this element back into harmony.
At times we may gravitate towards a home practice that is therapeutic or have the need for an ongoing and healing practice. Through pranayama, restorative yoga, or carefully crafted sequences we may use yoga as a tool to regain physical and mental health. Explore your desires and to see if therapeutic yoga has a place in your home practice.
Once we've worked through sequences that are meant to address specific issues or to be therapeutic, we should concentrate on symmetrical sequences that honor your purpose and bring the left and the right sides together. Assess your physical imbalances and also work towards a symmetrical sequence. Most of us have a period of focus on all of the MATS themed practices and often, we have a sequence for each element.
See if this method can help you jumpstart and create some wonderful sequences for your at home practice today!