The beauty of yoga is that in its simplest form all you need is a yoga mat and a little dedication. Although it is nice to go to a class for consistency, when this is not possible – as is the case at the moment during lockdown – your practice does not have to suffer.
Over my years of teaching I have always tried to encourage my students to build a home practice, this allows for consistency of practice but also allows you to explore your body a little more and tune into what you need at any given time. With a home practice you can also tailor your practice to your current mood, how you are feeling physically or emotionally and then it will really meet your needs. I have written various articles over the years that might be of interest so I just wanted to bring these together in this post as a reference point for those of you who might be struggling to practice at home or who perhaps don’t know where to start.
First of all you need a yoga mat, they don’t have to cost the Earth and even if not all shops are open again yet there are lots of possibilities for buying online. Here is my article on choosing your first yoga mat: Simple guide to choosing your first yoga mat
Next you need to find a space in which to practise. It doesn’t have to be a huge space, just big enough for your mat and for you to lay on and practise comfortably without bumping into things! It is nice, where possible, to find a dedicated space – even if just a corner in your bedroom – so that you can keep it nice and clear and clean and perhaps if there is the possibility add a few calming items like candles, buddhas, mala beads, etc. This is not essential of course but is just a nice touch, ultimately anywhere you can roll out your mat will suffice whether inside your home or perhaps in the garden on a nice day. Once you have your mat and your space you need to know where to start with your practice and sequencing. If you want to create your own sequence then here is my article on creating your own practice: Simple Guide to Creating a Home Yoga Practice
Sometimes you might feel inspired to follow your own flow in terms of sequencing, other times you might want to be guided. Truly there are a LOT of resources on the internet, lots of free content on YouTube and lots of subscriptions to different yoga websites, etc., there are also a neverending number of DVDs you can buy so really this is down to your personal choice. As many of you will already know I do have a handful of free classes that I have been filming over the last few years on my own YouTube channel – including two more recent ones – and I have also been filming new sequences each week since lockdown which are available to purchase here on my Online Classes page. Ultimately it is for you to decide how and with whom you wish you practise but there are so many resources available whether free or paid for. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the choice though! Think about how you want to practise: are you feeling energetic or tired? Do you want to feel energised or deeply relaxed? How long do you want to practise for and which style? A few simple questions that will guide you in the right direction. I have filmed both Hatha Yoga and Yin Yoga classes and again there are these and many other styles available throughout the internet. Most of you will be familiar with the practise of Hatha Yoga but if you are interested in trying out Yin but are not sure what it entails please read my article: Yin Yoga: A balanced approach to your yoga practice
Yoga can be especially beneficial for you at the moment because it is something you can commit to easily and without having to leave the house and as a holistic practice you know it is helping you physically, emotionally and mentally. In our classes we recently looked at how yoga can help you to combat stress and also boost your immune system so I wanted to include a link to these articles here in case they can be of any help at the moment:
And last but not least, even on days when you might not feel like engaging in the physical practice of yoga, you might still like to do some meditation so I am including links to articles I wrote on two types of Buddhist meditation that I practise myself and which we also explored in the meditation classes which I ran last year, again perhaps they might be of some help to get you started with meditation:
I hope that this post and the articles I have written will be of some help to those of you who wish to continue or create a yoga practice at home. It really is as simple as rolling out your mat and getting started. It doesn’t have to be a long practice if you are short on time, just do what you can and then you will find it comes naturally to you and it will be something you look forward to and which can help support you during these difficult times.