How to Develop a Home Yoga Practice: Top Tips to Successfully Incorporate a Regular Personal Yoga Practice

Recently, I wrote the Whys for developing a home practice.  In that post, I said that a regular home practice is the best way to really get to know yourself and your yoga practice, on your time, and in your space.  In today’s post, I want to give you some tips on HOW to do it.

First of all, there will ALWAYS be something else that needs to be done.  I’m a super busy mom of two young ones (3 and 1 as of the publishing of this blog post), we own a “fixer upper”, and I own a small business…I also should mention I’m happily married, which, for all you other married moms, you know that’s another thing that always needs attention.  Ok, so suffice it to say, I get it. You have stuff to do, laundry to fold, dinner to make, dishes to clean and put away, kids toys out, carpets to vacuum, floors to mop…don’t even look at the front door or windows…it’ll just be depressing because those need some attention too.

Or am I just looking around my house?

So yes, you have things to do.  I TOTALLY understand that.

Here’s the thing, you will ALWAYS have things to do.  When you finish (if you finish) all those things, other things will still need to be done.  

What’s the single biggest secret to How You can Develop a Home Yoga Practice?

  1. Make that the hottest fire in your life that needs to be put out, every.single.day.

Yup, your personal yoga practice needs to be the single most important thing you do every single day.  That’s why a lot of lineages say you should practice first thing in the morning–and if you’re a morning person, by all means, set that alarm 15, 30-90 minutes before normal and get your sleepy rear end out of bed to get the practice in, because, guess what, it really is the most important thing you can do for yourself.  When you’ve had your yoga practice, you are calmer, more centered, more focused, more relaxed, more refreshed—more EVERYTHING, than if you just drank your grande peppermint mocha as you drop off the kids at school.

My Top Tips for Developing a regular home yoga practice

  1. You already saw it, your yoga practice needs to be the most important thing of your day–whether you practice 6 days a week or 2.  The days that you do practice, that is hands down, the most important thing you do for yourself. If you set that intention, then you put the emphasis on the importance to yourself, your family, your entire day–it’s much harder toskip it.
  2. Find a spot that’s easy to get to and practice in.  So, I know we don’t all live in HGTV perfect “Magnolia Farms” decorated homes, but every home has a place you can carve out for you.  Dude, I have lived in a 900 sq ft apartment with my husband, my cane corso, Boxer, spaniel and 2 cats and still found myself a place to practice….it may or may not have been in our bathroom but whatever….it was my space, it was free of stuff, and the best part of that practice space was I could close the door and make it as hot and humid as I wanted.  (that was back in my Bikram Yoga days and it was awesome.) The less hurdles you have to jump to get to your mat, the more likely you are going to be to dust that puppy off.
  3. Figure out the time of day you feel best and make darn sure you are near your mat when that time is.  For me, it’s before lunch, but not right when i wake up. Now, that probably makes me a terrible Ashtangi (a lot of the “purist” think you gotta practice before the birds get up, but I’m going to follow my teacher’s advice and practice around 9 or 10 if I have that luxury.  My teacher, Manju Jois doesn’t like to lead workshops that start any earlier than 9 am because he says, who wants to be up and ready much earlier than that? This, my friends, makes my sleepy mom heart sing. 🙂

When you make your yoga practice your biggest priority, you eliminate as many barriers as possible, and you schedule it for the best time of your day, then you are going to come to the mat in the best possible frame of mind.  Dude, I get it, some days are just HARD! –you know, when the kids don’t sleep or it’s a heavy gravity day–yes, some days are more challenging than others to practice in, BUT–if your practice is your priority, even over the laundry pile, and it’s easy to get to your mat, and it’s the time of day where you are gonna feel your best–it’s the easiest way to insure that you can make the habit have a chance at sticking.

Developing a home yoga practice is just like any other habit, it takes time to cultivate–some people say 14 days, some people say 45 days–for me, it took me YEARS to generate the desire to practice at home, then a baby with a limited budget to dictate the necessity, then the drive was how absolutely fantastic I felt when I got to practice my “yoga chikitsa” –that’s the Yoga Therapy.  When I made my home practice my priority, found my perfect spot, and didn’t push the rediculously early morning practices, I found that I could get connected with a super awesome, challenging home practice that kept me grounded, growing, and getting stronger–even though I only got to practice with my teacher twice a year.

AND YES, you need a teacher.  You need a real live human to help guide you.  You need someone that knows more than you, that has more experience than you and that has your best interests at heart.  It doesn’t have to be this super crazy guru protege relationship–in fact, as a teacher, I never want to be called guru–that’s a mantle I’m not prepared to wear, but You should always have a relationship with someone that can help you grow when you get stuck….which is why a GROUP practice is so important!  

YES, I have a teacher.  Yes, my teachers have changed over time.  My first teacher, Bill Raup, was a Baron Baptiste student.  I was a Power Yoga person through and through and Bill taught me the basics of what makes a really good, hard, power yoga class.  To this day, I love taking and teaching this style of class and I am forever grateful to him. As I grew in my practice, I found AShtanga and Donna Feiner, a level 2 authorized teacher.  She was everything I was not–artsy, creative, intuitive–and she helped me slow down. She helped me to realize the yoga practice wasn’t about the poses I could or couldn’t do, but it was about my growth and maturation with the practice.  Upon her passing, her teacher, Manju Jois, became my teacher. He’s funny, experienced, knowledgeable, and most importantly a problem solver. It’s not just a one size fits all approach to yoga–it’s a singular student focused, take the practice and make it help each person right where they are right now, approach that is both compassionate and demanding.  

Your teachers are going to change too, over time. You’re gonna find that your practice will help you find the teacher you need during each season.   I hope that maybe one day I can help you in some way. Even if it’s just to encourage you to get to your mat every day, I hope that it’s the motivation you need to continue to grow stronger and better every day.

If you’re looking for some great online resources, I have some free fitness inspired yoga classes online, and the Thrive Yoga and Wellness Youtube Channel has a growing library of yoga and wellness videos for you to use on your own journey to health and a home practice.  Finally, if you’re looking for a little more accountability and personalized attention, we have an awesome online Yoga Community, Thrive Online that includes yoga tutorials, workouts, trainings, as well as regular virtual meetups with me where we can go over Asanas, modifications, drills, you name it!  When you’re a member of Thrive ONline, you have 24 hr access to this amazing content and more! It’ll help you take your personal practice to a whole new, guided and growing level.  I can’t wait to see you on the other side!