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Cultivating a Home Practice

Cultivating a Home Practice
Mod Amaya,  March 27th, 2009

One of the first things needed to create the habit of a home practice is a space.  It’s difficult to practice yoga in front of the tv or in the kitchen when folks are eating.  You need to carve out a space that you can use each time you want to lay out your mat.  Then, it becomes kind of sacred.  You put your energy into it everyday, and it becomes your metaphorical yoga studio, even if it doesn’t have the fancy hardwood floors, statuettes, or chakra banners.  When you sit in that space, you know what to do.

Commitment is key to forming a healthy habit.  Commit to a specified practice time and stick to it, but also make it realistic.  I used to think that carving 1.5 hours out of every day to practice twists and side bends was ludicrous, and it kept me from practicing at all.  So then I did a reality check.  ”If I’m going to practice every single day of this glorious week, do I really need to practice soooo much each day?”  My answer:  nuh-uh!  I decided to commit to 1 hour a day, which my brain and busy schedule perceived as completely attainable.  It totally shifted the way I view my practice.

As a matter of fact, I got on my mat this morning thinking, “1 hour is a piece of cake.”  Before I knew it, I felt like I was running out of time to do everything I had planned for my body.  Then, 1 hour turned into 1.5 hours, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I had gotten over the hardest part, just sitting on my mat, and my practice just progressed from there.

In order to make your time efficient, treat it like your time in any other type of studio class.  You don’t answer your cell phone mid-pose in the yoga studio, do you?  So, if you’re going to practice at home, get rid of all the distractions.  Turn off the home phone, put the cell on vibrate, and mitigate any other potential disturbances.  1.5 hours of practice is great, but only if it’s used for practice.

Bring it into your daily routine.  You wake up, you brush your teeth, and you probably use the restroom.  It’s pretty normal, right?  Now, just add your yoga practice to that, preferably after the morning stuff has been completed ;p  In no time at all, you will really feel a difference when you miss a practice session.  It will feel like going to work without having brushed the teeth – just plain awful.

It’s only tough in the beginning.  Just work at it, work at it, and work at it a little more.  Eventually, it will feel normal, and then you can focus on forming other life-affirming habits.