If you read my recent post on routines, you’ll know that I think we should be more flexible with them, picking things up and dropping them as we need. In terms of exercise and physical practice, the last few months saw me drop my gym routine and pick up more yoga.
This is what my body and mind needed at the time. I’m now slowly getting back to the gym (because I genuinely want to and my body’s craving those cardio endorphins) but I wanted to talk a bit more about yoga and setting up a home practice.
Because slow, gentle at-home yoga has been a refuge for me these last few months.
I’ve been doing yoga at home for a good few years now. I used to follow apps, but things really changed when my yoga teacher friend Zoe introduced me to Ekhart yoga – an online service where you pay a monthly subscription and get access to hundreds of videos.
The site covers all levels (from beginner to advanced), so many styles, teachers and even meditations, talks and ongoing programmes. You can choose a class based on duration, yoga style, teacher, use (for relaxation, for grounding etc.) – it’s basically the Google of yoga, just search for what your body needs.
*Note – this is not sponsored by Ekhart yoga in any way, it’s just what I use!
Of course there are also plenty of free yoga videos out there, I’ve heard great things about yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. Either way, if you’re looking to start a home yoga practice, I think it’s helpful to follow videos at first.
Once you’ve found some videos that speak to you and what you want to achieve, you can think about how you’re going to fit this practice in your life, how you can make the most out of it and how you can keep up the habit. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Pick your time
Think about when both your body and mind would most benefit from yoga. I’ve tried practising in the morning before work – but honestly, it just doesn’t work for me right now. One day I’m sure I’ll have slow mornings filled with writing, yoga and green tea – but right now, it isn’t practical.
Instead I make it part of my wind down routine. It marks my switch from work-mode to rest-mode. Find a time slot that works for YOU in your life right now.
Make it special and enjoyable
If you do yoga out of obligation or because you think you ‘should’, it’ll never stick. Practice yoga because you want to, because of the space it gives you – treat it like the gift it is. Make your practice an enjoyable experience – get some scented candles on the go, dim the lights, play some serene music. Make it a self-care ritual.
Remember what yoga is
There’ll be some days when the idea of rolling out your yoga mat simply isn’t appealing – or even possible. This gives you the opportunity to practice the other elements of yoga – breathing, meditation, self-study. Elle Narbrook recently wrote a beautiful post on this.
Stay flexible, present and aware
No, I’m not talking about during your yoga practice, I’m talking about your yoga practice! Be flexible – allow for routine changes. Be present – keep a mindful attitude. Be aware – tap into what your body and mind needs.
Yoga is something I keep coming back to. It’s part of my life and sometimes that means 10 minutes of breathing in the morning or an hour’s class in the evening. It’s usually somewhere in between with a 20-30 minute class and some meditation thrown on at the end.
Make it work for you and it’ll become your refuge too.
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