Establishing a home yoga practice has been a challenge for me. It is something that I want to do and need to do. Being consistent with going to yoga classes at a yoga studio is one thing, but living your yoga every day on and off the mat is a whole other beast. I am not quite sure why I am met with my own resistance when it comes to establishing a home practice. I don’t really have too many excuses. I have several places in my house where I can practice. When I have practiced at home, I like to do so in my living room in front of the picture window where I get a lot of sunlight. I made a special yoga music playlist with favorites from Cassandra Wilson and Sade. But, the home practice doesn’t stick. I may do it for a week or so, and then I’m done. I look at my yoga mat leaning against the wall, collecting dust. So, what is holding me back?
I have issues letting go. With home practice, you lead the practice. You determine what sequence you’ll follow and what poses you’ll do. You decide when you begin and when you end. You are in control. Well, in control in the sense that you have to know how to let go. You have to want to let go and find your flow, your natural rhythm. That is difficult for me. I find that I am working against myself when I practice at home. I have a hard time quieting my mind and all of the distractions from the world around me.
As a yoga teacher, I know it will be important that I maintain a home practice. It is essential. How can I teach someone else yoga if I can’t even practice with myself? It’s like what I say about teaching writing–you can’t teach writing if you yourself are not a writer. All of the yoga blogs I follow have posts about starting and maintaining a home practice (see the Elephant Journal, Kripalu, and Yoga Journal for starters) and they all give the same advice. The most challenging advice for me is to “just begin”. Ultimately, you just have to begin. It doesn’t matter if you practice for 7 minutes–what matters most is that you begin and begin again.
I’d also add that home practice is more about the mental and emotional and less about the physical for me. What I mean is that I am not challenged by the physical practice. In my case, they are the mental games that I play with myself that deter me from a consistent practice. I am going to stop being so hard on myself because I did not practice at home today. Each day is a new day to begin. As the warrior pose teaches, don’t look back, just forward. And, as my girl Erykah Badu sang, let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go…