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Create a Home Yoga Practice

HAR_2017-04_Article_Yoga_Center_Create_Home_Practice

by Kathy McCoy, RYT-200

“Nothing replaces the home practice,” says 25-year yoga veteran Rodney Yee. “Listening is the practice of yoga; it's so important to go into your own body and ask it to be your teacher. It is a time when you can find your own rhythm. It is where the genuine knowledge arises.”

Doing yoga at home is considered a vital part of deepening a personal practice. While it may be intimidating to attempt a practice without the guidance of an instructor or a weekly class, one doesn’t need to be a super yogi to create a home yoga practice.

Those who begin yoga teacher training are required to begin and continue a daily practice. Interestingly, it is often advised that student teachers devote no more than 10 to 15 minutes to this practice at the start. Most find that, by starting small and savoring success, those minutes grow without effort.

A yoga mat can become a kind of laboratory where a student discovers nuances of asana. Starting with a short time on the mat every day encourages success and leads to a daily yoga practice that can become as routine as tooth brushing. Do “yogis” ever miss a day or more? Sure. Schedules get crazy, life happens. But after practicing daily, one will notice a difference during those times. Daily yoga practice gives one a sense of balance, renewal and grounding. A sage yogi once said “When yoga grabs you by the back of the hair, it won't let go.”

Four Reasons to Start a Home Practice

Self-knowledge. Practicing alone helps one learn to self-regulate and self-soothe. It's like driving vs. being chauffeured! When driving, there is a responsibility to pay attention, choose directions and respond to what happens along the journey. Everyone has been in a class feeling chauffeured. Maybe the class was geared for hamstrings, but the body was craving core work. Maybe the instructor's pace wasn’t a good energetic fit for that particular day.

Self-help. The more one practices, the better one gets at assessing what’s going on mentally, physically, emotionally and energetically. Arriving on the mat, it becomes easier to choose a practice that supports whatever is going on. An inner destination can be determined. Perhaps there is a need for intense movement and it’s time to rock some sun salutes to upbeat tunes. Perhaps it’s a day of exhaustion and it’s time for some restorative or meditative moves. Maybe it’s time for gentle flow or yin. A regular practice makes the choice more obvious.

Self-indulgence. How many other endeavors allow one to follow any course? Practicing alone is so indulgent. Make it a five-minute session or make it an hour. Take it at whatever pace, tone and intensity feels right. Every day, the mat can hold a different kind of practice.

Exponential growth. When one practices regularly, the effects of each session don't have a chance to wear off. That consistency offers benefits that double and then double again.

Consider carving out space, literally and metaphorically. The biggest challenge will be making (not finding) time. A little time will reap the benefits of being grounded, inspired, more focused and productive. Keep in mind that this commitment can take on a life of its own. There’s a deeper part inside everybody (and every body) that yearns for the connection that a regular home practice can provide.

Kathy McCoy, RYT200 is a registered yoga teacher. She teaches weekly gentle and restorative yoga at Yoga Center of Collinsville at 10 Front Street in Collinsville. She is offering a special workshop to help students establish a home yoga practice on April 30 at 4 p.m. To learn more, visit YogaCenterCollinsville.com or call 860-693-9642.

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