Editor’s Note: Andrew Weil, M.D. is a world-renowned leader, best-selling author, and...
If you find that fighting traffic and your schedule to get to a yoga class is creating more stress than relief, then bringing yoga into your home can be a way to infuse your practice with a simple and welcome ease. Practicing yoga at home can save you time, energy, and money, and perhaps even set you up for greater success in honoring your intention of commitment. Whether you are new to yoga or are taking your current practice to a new level, developing a home practice can meet you where you are and give meaningful rewards to both body and mind when you need them most.
Creating a calming and sacred space in your home is simple. A quiet space free of clutter and commotion is all that’s needed to get started, with room enough to store a mat and any props you may use, such as blocks, straps, or blankets. While few of us are able to set aside an entire room for transformation into a yoga studio, dedicating even a corner of a room as your sacred space can help get you to the mat on those days when dragging the living room furniture out of the way is an obstacle too great to surmount. Making sure your space is always clean, open, and inviting allows you a welcoming retreat at any moment.
Many yoga instructors and students alike would agree that learning the basics of yoga – some fundamental poses and breathing techniques – in a class setting is a great way to get a practice started before going it alone at home. If you already have a few classes under your belt, or if your practice is well established, then you’re ready to take it home with a little help from books or video, or simply by following the yogi in your head. If you’re brand new to yoga, you can still build a beneficial and fulfilling practice if you take it one step at a time with the help of DVDs, video downloads, or online classes. Find books or DVDs that fit your intention, your needs, and your level. Start slowly – try 15 minutes in the morning to begin your day – and build as you go, taking care to be mindful of your body and avoid injury.
Practicing yoga in the quiet of your home allows you the space to honor your body and teach from within, paying close attention and exploring what your body and spirit need each day. In a yoga class, we often pay more attention to the bodies around us, trying to “keep up” with our neighbors or fit our own bodies to the teacher’s instructions. In the meditative calm of your home studio, you can:
Remember, too, that a home practice also can be a wonderful addition to group classes. So, roll out the welcome mat and make yourself at home.