5 Steps to a Successful Yoga Home Practice

“If you build it, they will come.”…Okay so that was true for the Field of Dreams folks, but it’s not always the case when it comes to creating a successful yoga home practice — or so I’ve heard from many aspiring yogis. They say making mat time a priority is tough, and many have asked me how I do it. I’ll tell you honestly, it’s not because I’m super disciplined. Heaven knows I’m NOT. But I do believe that self-care is essential, and my whole day suffers if I don’t take the time to center myself emotionally, physically, and mentally with my daily yoga practice. So here’s how I’ve managed to maintain a consistent yoga home practice. 

  1. I Made Space

I have learned a hard lesson about plans: they don’t happen if you hope you’ll have time for them. They happen when you prepare for them, make space on your calendar, and even set an alarm to remind you. Do this until your yoga home practice becomes automatic. Another place to make space: on your floor. I keep a yoga mat rolled out at all times in a quiet spot, surrounded by candles, a standing mirror and a stack of yoga books for inspiration. This is my zen little spot, and it feels like a privilege to go there daily. But if you’re short on space, remember that yoga is not about what’s happening outside of your mat. It’s a journey inward, so don’t fret about the details if your decor is imperfect.

  1. I Started at My Own Level

You don’t know the Sanskrit names for your asanas. You have yet to master Flying Pigeon pose, and you have just one pair of yoga pants to your name. So effing what! We all begin somewhere, so start with what you know and build from there. You can start your yoga home practice with a library of poses, or just a few that you’ve mastered. It’s all about moving at your own pace, listening to your body, and tapping into that place that empowers you.

  1. I Cultivated Kindness

Yoga has made me flexible. I can touch my toes, rock a backbend, and drop into a split. But that’s not the point. Yoga is not about shaping your ass; it’s about getting your head out of it. So stop worrying about what you can’t do and what your body is not. Take the time to cultivate self-love and kindness. Be grateful for the strength you have, and don’t waste a second on your mat wishing you were something other than what you are right now. With practice comes progress. 

  1. I Connected with My Breath

Where the breath goes, the body follows. But breathing is so universal that we often forget its power. As you engage in your yoga home practice, use your breath to connect to your body. Becoming aware of your breathing is a great way to silence the chatter in your mind as you turn from your turbulent thinking to study your oxygen intake. Paying attention to your breathing patterns is the cornerstone of mindfulness-based practices.  

  1. I Became a Corpse

And by this I mean, I learned to love Corpse Pose. It’s one of the most difficult postures in all of yoga because it requires absolute stillness — something we busy moms with buzzing brains just can’t fathom. So if there were no other benefits to starting a yoga home practice, this one reason would be worth the effort: forgetting the flow — the flow of time, duty, and all the rest.

Make time for yoga. You’re worth it.

 


66 Comments
  • Jennifer
    April 4, 2016

    All true. Of course, many people come to yoga for the great ass, but then stay for what yoga teaches them. Funny how that works.

  • Elena Peters
    April 4, 2016

    I have a pair of yoga pants so I think I am half way there right? You have inspired me to make space. Great post!

    • Rica Lewis
      April 4, 2016

      Ha ha! That’s what I’m talking about. Thanks for reading and commenting, Elena.

  • Katie
    April 4, 2016

    LOVE! There’s definitely something to be said for making the space! I don’t have enough space to have my mat rolled out but in my last apartment, I had a small decorative chair, light lamp and yoga-inspired photo that marked my space. It was beautiful and definitely helped encourage my practice.

    • Rica Lewis
      April 4, 2016

      That sounds nice, Katie. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  • Edward Traversa
    April 4, 2016

    excellent advice. Being still and quietening the mind are often the most difficult of practices

  • Chel
    April 4, 2016

    Great tips! My apartment is so small that I have to move everything around to create a space I’m comfortable in! Corpse pose is my favorite after a long day, hard to shut down the mind for a minute but definitely necessary

    • Rica Lewis
      April 4, 2016

      Yes, sometimes the space issue makes exercise indoors difficult. Good thing yoga mats are narrow and pretty easy to store when compared to other workout equipment! Thanks for reading and commenting, Chel. I’ll have to check out your blog, as I love wine too 🙂

  • Jessica Bradshaw
    April 4, 2016

    Love this! I think making space is so important. I don’t have kids, but I am busy and corpse is hard for me too. I always have a million things going on in my head at one time.

    • Rica Lewis
      April 4, 2016

      That seems to the consensus here, Jessica. Everyone has a busy life and mind, so corpse pose is tough! Good luck and thanks for reading!

  • Liv
    April 4, 2016

    It’s hard sometimes to make that space – but these are very practical suggestions. Thanks!

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    April 4, 2016

    You make it seem so much more achievable to start a practice at home, Rica.
    I love the corpse pose too – brings so much peace, doesn’t it?

    • Rica Lewis
      April 4, 2016

      Yes, Corrine. It sure does. Thanks for reading. I encourage readers to check out your blog for more inspirational content!

  • Stephanie
    April 4, 2016

    Great advice, I really, really need to get into yoga more. My muscles are feeling the strain from being so active and man do I need to make time for calming my mind AND my muscles!

  • Shareen Azmi
    April 4, 2016

    yoga is very much the same as the old Malay ‘Tapa Sukma’ way of meditation. It is to achieve mind peace and in some ways, receive enlightenment.

    To be honest, yes… getting our inner mind quiet is the most difficult one. As for me (I am an Islamic Sufi practitioner), I usually listen to the beat of the heart. In some steps, Yoga has it’s own mantra chant. The same also goes with my way of meditation. I will start chanting ‘Allah, Allah’ and sync the chant with the beat of the heart. In that way, I will be more focused on my inner self instead of listening to the noise of the mind.

    But anyway, great article there. it shows us how much experience you have nd how you deal with obstacles that are there to stop you from doing yoga in its correct way. Very nice~~

    • Rica Lewis
      April 4, 2016

      How very nice of you to say, Shareen. I agree with your statements about receiving enlightenment and peace through yoga. The practice has really changed me. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Shann Eva
    April 4, 2016

    The Corpse pose is definitely the hardest for me. I can quiet my body, but the mind is a hard one for me. Yoga is so helpful, and this post helps me see how I can incorporate the practice more every day, so thank you.

    • Rica Lewis
      April 4, 2016

      My pleasure, Shann Eva. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • Mandi
    April 4, 2016

    Corpse pose used to be the hardest for me, as I felt like I needed to get on with it and be productive. Then I learned and realized how important and productive relaxing TRULY is.

  • Robert
    April 4, 2016

    I love that you mentioned cultivating kindness, especially toward yourself. Until we can accept ourself, we cannot move forward. And the easiest way to do it is to just do it.

  • Kyah
    April 4, 2016

    I love these tips! I really want to create a routine to ensure I’m always doing yoga.
    Kyah / http://www.weekendtempo.com

  • Emma
    April 4, 2016

    This is so great! I’ve been working to cultivate an at home yoga practice – doing some restorative poses before bed every night – and all of these tips are so true and helpful! Thanks for sharing!

    • Rica Lewis
      April 4, 2016

      Thank you for commenting, Emma. Yoga before bed always helps me sleep.😀

  • Natalie
    April 4, 2016

    I definitely need to focus on #1!! If I have a group class, I’ll make it, but if I’m planning something at home, something always gets in the way!

    • Rica Lewis
      April 4, 2016

      Funny how that happens, Natalie! I used to do the same thing until I decided to take myself more seriously. Thanks for stopping in!

  • Ri
    April 4, 2016

    Thanks for the inspiration. I bought the yoga mat appx 7-8 months now. Now i think i may finally use it.

  • Sarah
    April 5, 2016

    I have always wanted to try yoga but I get intimidated by the poses. I want to go to a class so that I know how to do them but I am scared I will look silly. I did create a little relaxing space in our home so maybe I will search for some youtube videos or something.

    • Rica Lewis
      April 5, 2016

      I think the studio can be an intimidating place for some people, Sarah. But we all have to start somewhere. Videos are a great tool, and books are as well. This might help: http://yogawithadriene.com/category/free-yoga-videos/ I think it’s a good place to build some confidence and get some practice. Good luck and enjoy!

  • Shane Prather
    April 5, 2016

    I just signed up for a 30 day yoga challenge at a studio but love these tips for practicing at home!

    • Rica Lewis
      April 5, 2016

      That sounds cool, Shane! Challenges are so motivating. Thanks for commenting.

  • Courtney
    April 5, 2016

    I absolutely LOVE yoga at home! I have my 200hr certification but I’m going back in May for my 500hr! I love your tips! Especially the start at your own level and cultivating kindness. Two of the most important steps!

    • Rica Lewis
      April 5, 2016

      That’s great, Courtney! Kudos for going back for the additional training! Thanks for stopping in and reading.

  • Anna Palmer
    April 5, 2016

    I am going to read this and read this and read this. I stopped practicing yoga four years ago. 40 pounds, 400 acts of kindness missed, 4,000 hours of wasted self loathing I am using your blog to get back on track. I am going to start with two sun salutations. RIght. Now. Maybe someday I can get my head TO my ass instead of in it. Love your attitude!

    • Rica Lewis
      April 5, 2016

      This is so inspiring, Anna. I have been where you are and I’m so glad you’re ready for change. YAY! Be good to yourself. 🙂

  • Susannah
    April 6, 2016

    I try to do yoga at home and my little man crawls all over me. Someday he’ll be old enough to send away and let me have mama time. 😉

    • Rica Lewis
      April 7, 2016

      Ha ha, Susannah! I remember those days. Thanks for stopping in.

  • Charlotte
    April 8, 2016

    Where is the love button???

    YES. To all these things. This in particular : “Yoga is not about shaping your ass; it’s about getting your head out of it.” HA! Sending you a virtual HIGH FIVE for that.

    I love the practice so much–and it really is about cultivating a deeper appreciation for ourselves and where we are when we’re on that mat. Present, cued into the moment, and learning to love our bodies and ourselves.

    Thank you for this 🙂 <3

    • Rica Lewis
      April 8, 2016

      Yay! Hi five and a virtual hug to you, Charlotte! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Leanne
    April 21, 2016

    How wonderful to be able to do what you love from home – it’s something I’ve never been able to do (and unless I become a blogging sensation it’s unlikely to ever happen!) Leanne @ cresting the hill

    • Rica Lewis
      April 21, 2016

      Thank you, Leanne. There’s are work-at-home opportunities if you know where to look. Let me know if you’d like some info. Thanks for stopping in!

  • Silly Mummy
    April 21, 2016

    At home is the only way I’ve ever tried any yoga. Not done it for years, but I did enjoy it when I used to give it a go.

    • Rica Lewis
      April 21, 2016

      Yes, I adore my home practice. Actually, I don’t even mind doing a session at the gym after I’ve done some time on the treadmill. I think I just like to be in control and let my body move freely, without outside instruction. It’s kind of liking dancing!

  • Chelsea
    May 14, 2016

    Sounds like you are super mindful and in tune with your body. Good for you. I’m thinking of joining my first group fitness yoga class! This makes me excited to start.

  • Bun Karyudo
    May 14, 2016

    I was a bit shocked when I got to the last one! Luckily, it got less frightening as I read through it.

    • Rica Lewis
      May 14, 2016

      Lol! Didn’t mean to shock you, Bun! Thanks for reading.

  • Jessica
    May 14, 2016

    I love yoga but I can’t find a studio in my area. It’s so relaxing. That’s for the tips!

  • Gloria
    May 14, 2016

    I used to do yoga – BC, Before children! In fact I had two boys at daycare and while I was pregnant with twins, my yoga teacher came to the house after work. That was the magic hour once a week when I came home from work (teaching) and did yoga before my husband picked the boys up from daycare. Just around the 7 month mark, I truly got too large to move effectively – my favorite and most effective part of yoga was lying on the floor resting. Now, twelve years later, I realize I might be able to do that again!! WooHoo!

    • Rica Lewis
      May 14, 2016

      Ha ha, Gloria! I think you’re long overdue for it! Thanks for stopping in.

  • Rosemond
    May 16, 2016

    And just doing it. Imperfectly but still making time for it. I have to get back to scheduling things in so that the rest of my responsibilities doesn’t eat into it. And I love corpse pose!

    • Rica Lewis
      May 16, 2016

      Absolutely! I hate to see people get discouraged because they focus too much on what they cannot do. It really is a journey. Thanks so much for reading, Rosemond!

  • Molly Stevens
    May 29, 2016

    This is great advice, Rica. I do something called “Classical Stretch” which involves some tai chi, yoga, pilates, and ballet moves. I feel wonderful after I do it and it only takes about 20 minutes. I have a space that is perfect with a yoga mat readily available. When I leave my clothes on my bureau and set my intention the night before, I increase my chance of successfully following through by 100%. When I think, ‘maybe I’ll do that in the morning,’ it doesn’t happen. It is so worth it for body, mind and spirit.

    • Rica Lewis
      May 29, 2016

      Isn’t it funny how that works, Molly! Thanks for sharing what works for you. 😀

  • sue
    June 11, 2016

    I came to yoga last year (I’m 58) so a late starter! I love these ideas as I can’t always make it to a practice in a class. I’m sharing on my FB group #couchpotatotofabfit and pinning, tweeting. I’m ready to start my yoga at home! Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty.

    • Rica Lewis
      June 11, 2016

      Hi Sue! Nice to meet you and thanks for sharing. I’ll have to stop by your site and give you a virtual high five. 🙂

  • Peggy
    June 21, 2016

    My yoga space is a cluttered disaster right now. Time to bring the 30 gallon trash bag and declutter so I can have peace in my space. Great reminder to get back on my mat. Last year I went nearly 300 days in a row with my home practice. Now i feel like that commercial…’help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” LOL.

    In all seriousness, despite the disaster my “office” is, I still roll my mat out and close my eyes. 20 minutes of yoga is better than no minutes. Mess and all…

    • Rica Lewis
      June 22, 2016

      Absolutely, Peggy! You’re a rockstar regardless of the mess! And getting on that mat is all that matters sometimes. Good to see you here, beautiful soul.

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