How to Establish a Home Yoga Practice
By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP, CAADC
By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP, CAADC
The true depth of yoga is found in your personal practice as you connect deeper to your inner self, and establishing a home practice is the best way to do that. Certainly, going to group classes at a yoga studio is an excellent way to deepen your yoga practice and experience new things. But the experience of discovering yourself can ultimately only be done on your own!
Establishing a home yoga practice is not always easy, and even many experienced yoga teachers struggle with keeping it up. It is vital to start any home practice with the right intention, just as you would any yoga class, and create the fire of dedication or tapas with every step. Read more below to discover the foundational steps to establishing your home yoga practice.
A home yoga practice is the personal yoga routine that you incorporate into your daily life. Whether on the mat, on your couch, or in your bed, there are so many ways that a home yoga practice can take shape! A home yoga practice can last anywhere between 1-minute to 2-hours, depending on how you feel that day.
Generally, a home yoga practice includes various components of the 8 limbs of yoga, including yoga poses or asana, meditation, pranayama or breathing techniques, chanting Sanskrit mantras, or studying yoga philosophy. A home yoga practice looks different for every person, which is the most beautiful thing about it!
The core purpose of a home yoga practice is to deepen into the yoga philosophy tenant of self-study or svadhyaya. Yoga is 90% practice and 10% theory, so it is essential to establish your own practice and dive deeper into the vast experiences that yoga can provide for the body, mind, and soul.
For yoga teachers, having a personal home yoga practice is essential to staying rooted in yourself and filling your cup. As professionals who give so much to others, it is common for yoga teachers to experience burnout and become depleted from giving out their gifts to the world. Establishing a regular home yoga practice reminds you to come back within yourself and stay rooted in the core components of yoga.
Additionally, having a home practice can help you keep your teaching fresh and alive. Often yoga teachers can get stuck in teaching the same thing repeatedly. But by exploring different styles and sequences in your personal yoga practice, you can create new ideas and actually experience it in your own body.
When you practice what you teach, you can truly experience it on a deeper level, which helps you become a better teacher at the end of the day. Practicing your sequences also enables you to realize what your students feel during your classes. This can potentially help you recognize if you may be pushing your students too much or how to find more balance in your yoga sequences.
The first step to establishing a home yoga practice is figuring out where to do it. An excellent way to begin this process is by creating a sacred space in your home. Some people designate an entire room for this purpose. But if you live in a smaller house or apartment, then even a corner is more than enough!
Sometimes a temporary hallway or space beside your bed is all you have to spare, and that is completely ok too. Try to create an area in your home where you feel grounded and won’t be easily distracted by other people or noises. Creating this beautiful and sacred container can deepen this experience and help you go further within.
Once you have chosen your home practice space, the next obvious step is to lay out your yoga mat. Make sure that you have your props nearby, such as a bolster, strap, block, or blanket. If you don’t have specific yoga props, you can always replace these with household items, like a couch cushion, throw blanket, scarf, or stack of books.
Try keeping your mat and props in the same place near your practice area so that it doesn’t take as much time to get everything together. The more simplicity that you can add to this process, the easier it will be to get the motivation to regularly come onto your mat.
Before beginning your home yoga practice, it is always good to check in with yourself and choose the focus for your practice today. A home yoga practice doesn’t need to be fancy or overly complicated. It can be as simple as a couple of sun salutations or as complex as a full 90-minute flow.
Each person has a different preference for various yoga styles, so choose what works best for you and what you feel that you can follow regularly. But remember, you can always change things up depending on the day or how you are feeling – a home practice is for you, so make it personalized and start simple!
The actual benefits of a home yoga practice come when you practice it regularly. By establishing this into your daily routine, you can begin to feel the impacts of yoga on your everyday life and truly experience the transformation that it can provide.
Often when people start a home practice, they think it must be 90-minutes or nothing at all. But this can ultimately create more barriers to regularly practicing because sometimes we just don’t have that time to spare. Try starting small with just a 10 or 15-minute practice every day, and over time your home practice will grow as you feel ready.
Regularity is undoubtedly powerful, but it is essential to acknowledge that every day is different, and we are changing all the time. What you need now may be very different from what you need next week. The beauty of a home yoga practice is that it can be perfectly customized to you and your needs at that moment.
So, if your body is craving a more restorative or yin yoga session, then slow down and nourish yourself. Or if you feel a more active vinyasa sequence would be the most supportive, then do that instead! Each time you come on your yoga mat at home, take the time to check in with yourself and ask what you really need at this moment and then adapt your practice accordingly.
A home yoga practice gives you the opportunity to explore yourself and your yoga practice in greater depth. Being guided in a group class is certainly a wonderful experience, but it doesn’t always allow you to go deeper within yourself – which is the primary purpose of yoga.
Use your home yoga practice as this chance to really explore within yourself and experiment (with safety) in your own practice. No one is watching, and no one is judging, so use this time to have fun and dive deep into the beautiful and vast world of yoga practice!
Being a yoga teacher is a profound responsibility. Not only are you supporting people physically, but you are also creating a space for emotional and spiritual exploration and growth. This experience can be a wonderful gift to serve as a supporting presence for others – but who is supporting you? how to establish a home yoga practice
As a yoga teacher, it is essential always to remember to stay rooted in your self-care. Providing yoga classes for other people is lovely, but don’t forget to include yourself in this process as well. A home yoga practice can help you stay rooted in yourself and grounded in self-care. Starting or ending your day with this internal experience allows you to fill your cup so that you can continue to nourish others with your gifts.
Whether you are new to yoga or a long-term yoga practitioner, a home practice is an excellent way to deepen into the more profound benefits of yoga in your life. Starting a home yoga practice doesn’t need to be complicated. Your home practice is for you, so make it tailored to your needs at every moment.
A fantastic way to build a strong foundation for your home practice is by learning the basics of yoga in a yoga teacher training course. Many people join a yoga teacher training course simply to create a deeper home practice for themselves. how to establish a home yoga practice
In our online 200hr and 300hr yoga teacher training courses, we provide you with all the tools you need to create a nourishing home practice for yourself and to guide others through this journey as well. Reach out to us today for more information on how you can join our upcoming yoga teacher training courses!
how to establish a home yoga practice
Founder of Online Yoga School and Yoga & Ayurveda Center
Steph has over 25 years of experience in yoga and movement. Her understanding of yoga and the human body has been influenced by lifelong dancing and holistic health. She found her life’s purpose in helping people become happier and healthier through her own healing journey. Steph assists her students in knowing the joy and wonderment of integrating the mind and body through accessible yoga. She encourages an authentic and life-nurturing practice, one that brings greater consciousness to each moment and every movement of the body with a heavy emphasis on breath.
With a masters degree in counseling, Steph brings awareness, acceptance and a down to earth approach to her classes. She studied with Maty Ezraty and later completed her second 200-hour training with Nancy Candea at Yoga Impact in New Jersey and her 300-hour training with Chris Loebsack at Boundless Yoga Studio in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The perpetual student, Steph has studied with Leslie Howard, Travis Eliot, Bryan Kest, Donna Farhi and countless others. She has extensive training in pelvic floor yoga, restorative yoga, yin yoga, power yoga and accessible yoga. Most recently, Steph was certified as a Grand Master of Meditation through Swami Vidyanand.
Steph founded Yoga and Ayurveda Center with her husband. She later launched Online Yoga School to support her local trainings and has recently launched a virtual yoga studio to accommodate the international community of trainees.
When she isn’t on her mat, Steph can be found volunteering, enjoying her husband and children, dancing and cooking. She currently enjoys serving on the board of World Yoga Federation and Meditation Alliance International and previously enjoyed serving on the Education Committee of Yoga Alliance and places a strong emphasis on inclusivity in her teacher trainings
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