Home practice. The art of doing nothing.

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Just a sec, I need to shower, check my email, make a coffee, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, write this blog post… Yep, the gotta-do-NOW list becomes infinite when I think I should get down to my yoga practice at home.

Oh, I know it’s possible. Others do it. I assume most yoga teachers have a kick-ass home practice. The unique and detailed cues I hear from my teachers could only come from eureka moments on their own mats. I love that. I long for that.

There are a few reasons why I tell myself I haven’t spent a lot of time being my own yoga teacher:

1) Trained yoga teachers have more experience then me in crafting a beautiful practice. Why mess with a good thing?

2) I’m self doubting. If I show up to a class I know I will have no choice but to give myself over to my teacher and will likely be guided into utter bliss. I might not be quite so clever on my own.

3) I don’t have to make it up. My teacher will have it covered so I can turn my brain off. Right or wrong, there is something beautiful about moving with very little thought to what comes next.

4) My kula is awesome. I love seeing my teachers and my community face to face. Can’t miss that!

Despite this, deep down I know I’m missing out. I often get to the point in my yoga practice where I hit a roadblock and I either need a live-in yoga teacher or time working on my own to get past it. I’m standing at that road sign again now and lets be realistic, I can’t afford a live-in. There has got to be room for my kula AND my own personal work.

So, what’s stopping me? Why is it that I can walk fifteen minutes to my yoga studio but can’t take the ten seconds it takes to walk upstairs to my mat?

Let’s face it, Life Is Distracting.

As Julie Peters sometimes says in her classes “do nothing. There is nothing to do.” I love that. I need reassurance to know that the distraction of life can wait. It is why I go to class. It’s also what I need to feel at home, even in the chaos.

I guess the reason I’m writing this is I’m looking for suggestions on how to avoid the distraction of life and instead, develop a consistent home practice. Is it will power? Is it pre-planning? Is it a standard sequence? I’m calling all you home practice yogis. How does your home practice look? I need my kula to help sort this girl out. I am ready to learn.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Home practice. The art of doing nothing.

  1. Sonia

    I prefer classes but when I do it at home I use an app (there are many yoga apps out there) and gives me cues and let’s me know when to move on to the next move so I don’t have to count.

    Workout Trainer allows you to create your own workouts so that you can decide what it is you would like to do and it will provide cues.

    • That’s a good point! My husband uses Yoga Online which I should totally try out. I think they even have some of my favourite teachers on there.

  2. I’m a Yoga teacher, and I very rarely practice at home. I feel like you, like I am missing out. I just feel like my mind is too insane to want to practice at home; it’s much nicer to let my mind go and surrender to the teacher’s cues. Also, being a teacher, it’s important to get frequent inspiration from taking classes. If all we did was practice at home, it would become almost stagnant; no progression. Just let your home practice come naturally.

  3. Warriors and Goddesses

    I love my home practice because I can always do what I feel like doing on the day, and experiment with things before I teach them. It has taken many years to to develop this, and it is hard at first. Especially with those distracting to-do lists!! Start small, aim to practice for 20 minutes at first then build on it.

    • Great advice! I had a 15 minute home practice in the last trimester of my pregnancy. It seemed way more manageable then what I would consider a full practice. I should totally start there again.

  4. I think it’s important to remember that, although your practice changes as the demands of your life change, it is possible to fit in short bursts of awareness throughout the day – making your practice an integral part of your day, rather than something else on the ‘to do’ list. I don’t always fit in a good long practice at home – although when I do I love that I can just flow into whatever I feel like doing at the time – but even a few minutes can alter the way I feel. Sometimes I might stretch out whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, or the iron to heat up! And if you like to meditate but don’t have the time or peace at home, remember that in a mindfulness practice, everything can bring you back to the present. You might like to read my post ‘Finding time to practice’ and the excellent comments and useful advice I received from mums and yoga teachers who have found their own ways to work their practice into their lives.

  5. Great advice from everyone already!

    I would add this: you have a young family. That changes everything, and makes your time harder to schedule.

    But it’s still a yoga practice if it’s broken up through the day. A forward bend as you get out of bed is a good start. And if that’s all you manage that day, you’ve still done asana that day. It starts to build a habit.

    Another thing: it is your first spiritual priority to make sure you are taken care of. If you are empty from giving and not nourishing yourself, you won’t be fully present for your family.

    That, for me, was what got me into regular practice. Truly understanding that when I put myself first, I am in deep service to those I love. Truly understanding that a bit of yoga every day makes me better able to care for others and deal with the craziness of life.

    If you want help with sequencing, drop me an email, I’d be happy to give you an idea or two :).

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