Starting A Daily Yoga PracticeAug 23, 2022
STARTING A DAILY YOGA PRACTICE
I know you too probably wondered why doing yoga at home was important never mind how to fit it into your already busy schedule.
In case you're new to me or are just wondering who the heck I am, let me (re)introduce myself and where I'm coming from.
I'm Jen James of celestialyoga.org and a certified yoga and meditation teacher for over 18 years now and am a health and wellness coach too.
My specialty is to help empathetic women manage chronic pain and stress through a holistic approach with gentle yoga exercises, mindfulness and self-care techniques.
❤️ I chose today's topic because just like you, I too used to wonder why doing yoga at home was necessary.
I live in the country and just assumed that driving to and from the yoga studio was the only way to get an approachable yoga practice in.
Plus, I was already on the road all the time and yearned to make yoga more of a part of my life than going to a class or two a week and feeling sore for days afterwards.
I didn’t realize that when I practiced yoga on a consistent basis I didn’t feel sore because I wasn’t a “weekend warrior”.
I also was tired of not seeing anyone in the class that looked like me and would tend to hide in the back of the class so as not to distract from the teacher because I needed to modify the postures they were teaching.
See, I’ve suffered many injuries and surgeries throughout my life and I can’t do a lot of the postures that I see in most yoga studios, gyms, and community centers plus free YouTube videos that assume we all have the same abilities
(you know what I mean …. the super flexible skinny girl).
Not to mention how many of my in-person students (one-on-one and group) used to ask me ALL THE TIME how they could take my teachings home with them.
Before the internet was that big of a thing …yes, I’m dating myself …
I used to write notes and draw stick figures after I demonstrated a pose or two so that they could practice at home.
👉Shortly, I’m going to go over the benefits of practicing yoga at home and setting up your own home practice👈
According to this study in the National Library of Medicine, “Home practice of yoga predicted health better than years of practice or class frequency”
So even if you feel behind in the game, know that you aren’t!
Even if you are thinking, Jen, I haven’t practiced yoga in years and I can’t touch my toes so why bother?
Or maybe you felt like I did and worried that you didn’t look the “part” of being a yoga practitioner so what’s the point of learning yoga?
I’m here to say that EVERYBODY has the right to practice yoga.
Plus it’s never too late to set up your own home practice.
Read on to see why practicing yoga at home is so important plus I will give you some simple tips towards the end of this article on how you can set up for success a home yoga practice.
Remember, I got your back and won’t disappoint.
I’ve been teaching yoga in person for almost 20 years so I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.
BENEFITS OF PRACTICING YOGA AT HOME
- Save money
As you probably know, yoga classes can be expensive. Joining a gym, yoga studio, or even a community center can all add up. Practicing at home under an experienced teacher can save you money down the road (plus you have no idea what the free YouTube video “teacher’s” experience actually is and don’t want to find out the hard way).
- Save time
Of course, when you practice anything at home vs. going to a class you will save time because there’s no traveling back and forth. If you are like me, the closest facility is 20 minutes (one way) from your home.
- Move at your own pace
When you have your own home practice you are able to honor your body (mind and soul) and move in a way that feels right to you and at your own pace.
- No unhealthy comparisons
A lot of gyms, studios, and YouTube videos are set up to make us feel self-conscious and discouraged. Their atmosphere can be more competitive and superficial than you may want or need. Especially if you are like me and round-bodied and over 40.
- Create a healthy space
Having a space (even if it’s a nook in your home) for your home practice is so beautiful and profound. It’s like you know you can slip away and go there at any point you want. I will explain more about setting a space up in your home later.
First, I want to share with you a testimonial from my first one-on-one student that I taught from her home for years.
Here’s what Margaret Simpson has to say about working with me:
“Many years ago when I first became interested in learning the basics of yoga I was lucky enough to have Jen as my first instructor.
She is (and was) a talented and compassionate teacher with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in yoga.
I was given a solid foundation that has served me well for many years.
I have been able to take many different classes and always feel very well prepared in the basic postures.
Beyond the structural foundation she offers a loving, caring atmosphere where all are welcome and nurtured.
She is a very fine teacher and a beautiful soul.”
Honestly, not to toot my own horn, I wished there was someone like me guiding me a few years back.
I went over the benefits of practicing yoga at home and now I’m going to show you how to set up your own home practice
SETTING UP YOUR OWN HOME PRACTICE
- Get a yoga mat and grab a couple of props that you may already have
Nowadays, you can find yoga mats everywhere. Depending on your budget you could purchase a mat from a range of places. Walmart, Target, and Amazon are to name a few. Check out the reviews on Amazon and see what works for your lifestyle and budget. Mats can range from budget-friendly to eco-friendly choices.
Yoga props are ways to support you during your practice and you probably already have most of them, if not all. A sturdy chair, a yoga block (can get this anywhere), a step ladder, a wall, a countertop, and a doorway are my go-to items. Of course, loose comfy clothing, bare feet (or socks with “grippy bottoms), and a glass of water. I bet some of that was not what you expected! When you practice gentle yoga these are all so important and easy to find.
- Try to practice at the same time each day
I feel like consistency is probably one of the most important factors in setting up a sustainable home practice. After I brush my teeth and go to the bathroom I head over to my yoga space and journal, meditate, do a couple of breathing exercises, and then a few yoga postures. Then I try to sprinkle some yoga postures throughout my day since I sit at a desk A LOT.
- Devote a space to your practice
I know this sounds challenging but please don’t over-think it. My space is a tiny multi-purpose room that is my office, exercise room, and yoga space all in one.
- Stay mindful and present throughout your practice
This is critical to having a yoga practice that you will enjoy coming back to for years to come. When you practice yoga postures you should always feel good. I like to tell my students to practice the 50% rule. When doing any type of movement you want to make sure that you practice restraint and are present and mindful when you are stretching your muscles.
- Remember that yoga isn’t just about physical postures
Yoga is more about having a well-rounded practice that fuels you physically, emotionally, spiritually, sociologically, and mentally.
Meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, and taking yoga off the mat and into the world are equally or more important than physical postures.
IF YOU ARE INTRIGUED BY WHAT I’M SAYING HERE BUT NOT SURE WHERE TO START
YOU ARE SOMEWHAT AWARE OF THESE TIPS AND ARE LOOKING FOR MORE INSPIRATION AND SUPPORT
I hear all the time how intimidating holistic living can seem to be and how hard it is too squeeze into your busy life.
I have a weekly blog and private group where I cover holistic living and almost every week go live covering yoga, mediation, breathing exercises, and/or self-care.
This blog and community are filled with simple and approachable tips, techniques, and practical holistic living advice.
Share your experience with me in the comments below, or send me a private message and let me know how you feel after you try out the tips and techniques I share weekly here. ❤️
Have a beautiful day and Namaste,
p.s. ❤️ Feel free to reply back or send me a DM/PM if you have any questions or comments. I'm here to listen.