I’m taking a break from my typical travel post and writing about another one of my passions: Yoga!
I don’t remember my first ever yoga class, but I do remember when I fell in love with yoga. I had just moved to Colorado from Phoenix and I was working remotely from my new home. To avoid catching cabin fever, I decided to check out a local Ashtanga class each morning before I started work. It was rough waking up at the crack of dawn, but I remember leaving each of those classes feeling reinvigorated, refreshed and ready to take on the day. I decided an unlimited monthly pass would be worthwhile, so I splurged and before long I was experimenting with various types of yoga.
After about eight months of regular yoga practice, I found myself in a season of life that didn’t feel as balanced as it could be. While yoga itself wasn’t directly affecting my life imbalance, attending classes three to four times a week was. A one-hour class was burning close to two hours of my day. As a result, I decided to create my own at-home yoga practice. This has allowed me to practice whenever I want in the comfort of my own digs. The best part is that anyone can do it. Here are some pointers on how to set up your own at-home practice, and more importantly, how to stick to it!
- Create Your Space. I know I’m not the only one who got the idea of a “yoga room” in my head after watching Eat, Pray, Love (over and over and over). While this would be wonderful, not many of us have an extra room that we can dedicate solely to our yoga practice. Fortunately, this isn’t necessary anyway! The average yoga mat is roughly 68 inches long and 24 inches wide. If you can find a space for that in addition to some wiggle room, then you can create a yoga room. My yoga room is also our guest room/office/lady cave/Kevin’s bachelor couch storage room. It’s nothing fancy, but it works perfect.
- Set the Tone. We each find relaxation in different ways. For me ambiance is everything. I like things to be a certain way before I can begin to relax and get in the yoga zone. I typically shut the door, close the shades, switch my essential oil diffuser on and turn on relaxing music. Some days I prefer listening to an Indian flute playlist on Youtube, but usually I like piano music. For relaxing piano tunes, I recommend The Best of Yiruma or Autumn in New England.
- Find Your Practice. The thought that I couldn’t possibly do yoga on my own is probably what held me back from home practice for so long. By the time I set out and tried it, I had memorized most of the Ashtanga primary series so I was able to do this without any guidance. I really enjoyed that, but doing the same sequence every time was getting old. I downloaded the app, Down Dog on my phone and started using it. I love this app mainly because it is set to your own pace. You get to choose the difficulty level and the amount of time you want to practice. Oh, and it’s free!
- Discipline Yourself. I hope you weren’t waiting for some kind of extraterrestrial spiritual advice on how to stick with your yoga practice. Maybe someone out there has the secret, but I know I certainly don’t! Just like any other thing we commit to in life, yoga takes persistence and discipline. Some days, after working nine hours on my feet, the last thing I want to do is come home and practice. What I’ve found is that those are the days that I need it the most. I mean, have you ever finished any kind of workout and thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I hadn’t done that.” I’m guessing no! My advice is get on that mat as much as you can for as long as you can. Even a 15-minute practice is better than nothing.
People fall in love with yoga for many different reasons. For me, yoga is a form of discipline that I need in my life. It forces me to take a step back from the busyness of every day life and calm my mind. Yoga is also physically challenging, which I love. The journey of practicing a pose over and over and then finally being able to accomplish it is incredibly rewarding on a personal level. Whatever reason you decide to start yoga, I can assure you that incorporating it into your routine will benefit you mentally, physically and emotionally. Namaste!