Starting a Self-Practice

They day I started a home yoga practice, also known as 'Self Practice' is the day I had to. No other reason. And that day may be today for you, whether you realize it or not...

You see, I was transferred to London to help start business for my company, smack in the thick of my brand new discovery, and addiction to, yoga. I had just begun practicing yoga seven days a week, giving up running entirely, and never felt better. Then bam, I arrive in London, to a basement apartment ensconced in rain and gray clouds, without a yoga studio within thirty minutes, or a work schedule with decent hours. I was officially yoga-less, which to me, was suddenly a crisis. Yes, I could run along the Thames or in the Parks, but I now knew it never made me feel as good as yoga did. But how was I going to get to do daily yoga now?

I called my boyfriend back in NYC immensely stressed out about the activity that was supposed to relax me, and he said one thing, "Figure it out." I wish he could have seen my face on the other side of the phone thousands of miles away. But you know what, he was right.

They key to starting a self practice is in fact, figuring it out. And the key to figuring it out is a tiny bit of research, and from there trial and error.

Personally, I had been to enough yoga classes and had good enough memory, muscular and cerebral, to recall more or less the general structure of the classes I was attending. Between came the experimentation, which was naturally a series of trials, and errors. The end result was sweaty satisfaction. Maybe not perfect each time, but close enough to call a true practice of yoga, and ultimately even take me where I am today as a yoga teacher.

Given my experience, I wanted to share some tips for starting your Self Practice, no matter the why or the where.

- Stick to an overall structure with a beginning and an end. I would suggest SuryaNamaskar A (Sun Salutes) to start, and a closing sequence of paschimottanasana, getting your feet over your head in an inversion, and Savasana to end.

- Take 3 minutes to think about it on your way home. Let whatever comes to mind come to mind, whether it is a pose you like, a muscle or body part that aches, or something you want to try. Write it and anything else down between your two 'bookends’ (the beginning and end noted above) on a piece of paper or a mobile note so it is ingrained somewhere in your brain.

- Always include 2 standing postures, 1 balancing, 1 backbend, and 2 forward bends. Some examples of these are, in order, Warriors 1-3, TriangleTreeWheel, Pigeon prep, and Paschimottansana.

- Make sure you breathe! Without breathing, through your nose, lips lightly touched, in Ujjai breath, it is not yoga, and it will not feel like yoga, just a trapped aerobics class on a mat.

- Link every inhale or exhale with a movement.

- Dedicate your practice to someone else. This was the key for me to locking in the yoga effect and feeling, and also why I have ingrained it in all I.AM.YOU. classes. It makes a difference.

If you need pose ideas or instructions, take a look at For audio classes to follow along to, or the semi Self Practice that is many times even more fulfilling, download I.AM.YOU. classes at iTunes. I made these specifically because of the aforementioned London story!

Other than that, do not worry about ‘messing up,;’ just have fun! 

Want to learn how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

Lauren Imparato

Founder & CEO, I.AM.YOU.
Lauren Imparato — author of RETOX and one of the "100 Women in Wellness to Watch" and Elle’s "This is 30" — resigned her job as a vice president on the Wall Street trading floors in 2009 to launch I.AM.YOU, a wellness lifestyle company based on yoga, nourishment and music. In NYC and across the globe, she is renowned for her straight up, real approach to wellness and life. Imparato’s yoga classes are known for their attention to anatomy, sweat and tradition within the chaotic modern lives we lead, and are always paired with signature MusicMixes including genres like rock, salsa, jazz, hip hop and more. She has been featured in Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Elle, New York Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Self, The Financial Times, Bloomberg News, CNN and countless others and writes for MindBodyGreen, PositiveMed and her own blog with a social media following of over 250,000. Imparato has led I.AM.YOU. classes for tens of thousands of people in Spain, Cannes Film Festival, Ibiza Opening Weekend and, most recently, all of Times Square and the great lawn of Central Park. She graduated from Princeton University.
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Lauren Imparato

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