This is the third blog post in a 3-part series on building a home yoga practice to accompany my free Practice Guide YOGA@HOME. It began with the all important aspect of SPACE then added in the layer of SEQUENCING, and we’re finishing up this week with STAYING THE COURSE.
Check out the previous weeks if you missed them, and be sure to get your FREE Yoga@Home Practice Guide that I made to help you personalize and systematize your home practice.
Anchor Your Practice Through Balance
Home practice is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. As with all asana practice, part of the magic of the practice is the personalized routines that come from self-reflection and a deep inner knowing that bubbles up over time as we build a healthy relationship with ourselves. It evolves with us as we anchor ourselves in present moment awareness. It transforms as we do--in terms of physical strength (and injury) as well as mental and emotional resiliency (and hardship).
Home practice at its best is a skillful weaving of discipline and adaptability, commitment and spontaneity. If we veer to far in one direction, the result is a dry, rigid practice that doesn’t have the juice (rasa) to sustain itself.
If we meander toward the “whatever goes” end of the rainbow, there is nothing firm to which we can anchor our aims for growth and grounded peace.
Finding your sweet spot involves discernment over a long period of time...Something that only comes through the actual process of practice itself!
Anchor Your Practice Through Practice Itself...
f our practice is constantly changing, it’s like skimming the surface but never diving deep into the nourishing pool of yoga.
It can be tempting to always search around for the next new and exciting thing...a new twist on a posture, an unexpected sequence, a new flow transition, a different meditation technique. But the real heart of practice rests in dedication to that which serves our deepest hearts and transcends our moment-to-moment desires and habits.
Which means sometimes we gotta anchor what Stephen Cope calls the “puppy mind” in his book "Wisdom of Yoga". Repetition can bore the puppy mind, so we must also use discipline and healthy boundaries to tether ourselves to our larger aims rather than the whims of the moment.
I firmly believe that boredom can actually be an important threshold into deeper realms of practice. Particularly in meditation, when we stay, when we use discipline and commitment and a remembrance of our larger aims to anchor us even when it’s not easy, there is a palpable shift inside.
I think of it like when we show up for a loved one. Maybe it’s showing up for 100 soccer games for your kid, or attending a friend’s art opening, or a family member’s birthday party. These “obligations” can be just that, OR they can be opportunities to show real love and support simply through your presence.
So asana and meditation practice, even when it’s not exciting or fun or new or different, is a deep Showing Up for yourself. That’s where the magic happens.
Anchor Your Practice Through Study...
Now, to contradict myself. Yes, commitment, repetition, and consistency are necessary aspects of a solid home practice. But it IS important to keep things juicy and alive.
oga Teacher Brea Johnson has a wonderful analogy along these lines: In order to keep something alive, you have to feed it...So you need to feed your practice in order for it to keep nourishing you--it’s a reciprocal relationship.
I love that analogy. It means we’re responsible for attending to the life of our yoga practice. Rather than using this as a way to beat yourself up for not doing enough, instead make realistic commitments of your time and energy.
And if you fall off the wagon, don’t waste time blaming and shaming yourself! Just jump back on.
(I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted telling myself I wasn’t good enough at asana or couldn’t stay committed to daily yoga or meditation practice or talked myself out of practicing because I only had a few minutes...I could’ve just spent that time on the mat!)
The point is, practice is practice. If we have 5 minutes to attend to our practice, hallelujah, let’s utilize that 5 minutes. If we’ve got 60 or 90 minutes--all the better!
ere’s a starting point for ways to feed your practice with inspiration:
- Practice along to an online video (oh hey, I just happen to have an online studio full of fun classes you should definitely check out.)
- Read poetry to inspire your asana and/or meditation.
- Read a book written by a yoga teacher or practitioner to give you new perspectives.
- Study the classical texts, such as the Bhagavad Gita or the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, reading perhaps just a page or less and letting it sink in during practice.
- Make a list of 5 postures you rarely practice and make up a sequence that includes them.
- Similarly, make a list of 5 postures you ALWAYS practice and make a sequence without any of them in it.
- Make a playlist of your most favorite songs for your home practice.
- Incorporate 5 minutes of free writing into the beginning or end of your practice.
- Practice in a different room, or outside.
- Invite your partner, roommates, parents, kids, friends, etc. to practice with you!
- If you always practice during a certain time of day, add in another short practice at a different time and note what’s distinct about each time.
- Join a group challenge on Facebook or Instagram that gives you ideas or a framework for your practice.
I sincerely hope this 3-part series on Yoga @ Home has been useful to you. Again, check out the previous weeks if you missed them, and be sure to get your FREE Yoga@Home Guide that I made to help you personalize and systematize your home practice.
Leave me a comment or question--I'd love to hear from you!
Wishing you sweet and nourishing home practices!
Big Love and Happy Practicing,