Interested in creating an at home yoga practice but not sure where to start? Or maybe you know the deal but just need a reminder to get you started.
Having a yoga practice at home is a convenient, comfy, and cheap way to get some movement into your day (or night!)
I’ve been doing yoga since I was 16, and have been a yoga teacher for 5 years but only recently (like the last couple months!) been actually vibing with an at home yoga practice.
I have picked up on a few things that help to make it realistic, sustainable, and enjoyable, and i’d love to share what i’ve been thinking of with you!
PS – wondering what this has to do with food peace and body liberation? Omg. EVERYTHING! When we’re following restrictive, arbitrary food rule diets and doing “burn off your brownie” exercise, it totally disconnects us from ourselves.
It disconnects us from the magic and beauty of truly connecting to our bodies and moving in ways that FEEL good. A HUGE part of healing your relationship to food and your body is reconnecting to your intuition, yourself, and your body.
So, without further ado!
How to create an at home yoga practice (a phenomenal one!):
- Avoid waiting for motivation to move
- Get supplies
- To eat or not to eat?
- Choose a room & set the mood
- Free flow or find a free video
- Set an intention
- Limit distractions
- Move without expectations
- Take note of how you feel
Avoid waiting for motivation to move
One of the most important aspects of one’s relationship with movement – in my opinion – is NOT relying on motivation.
I say this as someone who has worked with people on their health, wellness, and exercise since 2011 (a long time..) I’ve read and studied the topic of habits and exercise for a decade, and worked with thousands of people 1:1 on this…
Trust me when I say that motivation doesn’t work to get you moving. Instead, it’s helpful to think of creating the habit and focusing on discipline.
I know discipline sounds kind of an intense word but it’s what you use when getting into a habit of brushing your teeth, doing a skincare routine or going to bed earlier.
You’re likely not feeling very motivated to do those things, right? I know i’m not. But we know they’re good for us, so we get what I call “smart feet” and wejust get it done.
After the fact, we’re happy because our teeth aren’t decaying, our skin is nice and fresh, and we’re well rested. So instead of waiting to WANT to do your at home yoga practice, commit to the discipline of it because
A.) you like yoga
B.) yoga makes you feel good
C.) you’re home anyways, may as well move a little!
I’m not militant though, lol… As always, REST if that’s what you truly need. Let go of the “shoulds.” Just be honest with yourself on whether you need rest or movement that day. Only you know the answer!
Get supplies for your at home yoga practice
Here’s a quick list of what you may need for your at home yoga practice:
- Yoga mat – linking my absolute favorite one, the Manduka Eko mat here. It’s extremely non slip, eco friendly, and a pretty good price for the quality. I’ve had mine for 6 years and it seems brand new! You can also check out TJ maxx or Marshalls for a more cost friendly option.
- Blocks – these REALLY help to what we call, “bring the floor closer.” I’m personally a HUGE fan of yoga blocks especially for an at home yoga practice. They help me bend and twist more efficiently in certain poses and it just feels better to use them sometimes.
- Strap – helps for poses that utilize binds or to bring your toes closer in a seated forward fold. (I got a block/strap combo for $22 here.)
- Bolster – glorious for restorative yoga poses. My favorite is Supta Baddha Konasana or supported reclined bound angle pose. Check out some others here – 10 ways to use a yoga bolster
Also, keep in mind you can use stuff you have lying around the house if you’re on a budget. You can use blankets and pillows from your couch, books for “blocks” and a towel as a “strap.”
To eat or not to eat?
Great question. Should you eat before your at home yoga practice (and practice in general) or not? I’d say it depends on each person and what feels best in your body!
For some, you may prefer a totally empty stomach and waiting 2-3 hours after your last meal or snack before you do yoga. For others, you might prefer something just to coat your stomach but not leave you super full.
If the latter is you, try to think of foods that digest sort of quickly vs. something that will sit in your stomach for awhile. Think: carbs. Some options might include a piece of toast or some fruit.
Choose a room and set the mood
This matters! Do NOT pick a room or space that even remotely stresses you out. Like, your home office is probably not your best bet because you’ll be reminded of work (or school.)
Pick an area of your home that feels the most calming and relaxing possible. I don’t recommend the kitchen either if that can be avoided!
Once you’ve picked your space, try and do your at home yoga practice there every time. You’ll start to create a routine, habit, and relationship to your practice better that way.
Set the mood! As a yoga teacher, I can assure you this is half of what makes a good yoga class in person, AND at home… Turn down the lights, light a candle or some incense, turn on your salt lamp, and pick a playlist.
I like the Spotify Your Favorite Coffeehouse playlist, or I made this Reggae Yoga Playlist if you’re in the mood for that! Oh, and also this Restorative Yoga Playlist I made.
Free flow or find a free video
Now that you have your discipline, supplies, space, and you’ve set the mood, you can decide whether you want to just free flow or find a free video to guide you through your at home yoga practice.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of just moving on my own. I think it really forces me to connect with what MY body needs and just go with it, vs. feeling the rigidness of following someone else’s commands.
That being said, sometimes I don’t want to think and just want someone to tell me how to move! My recs for at home yoga practice videos are:
- Yoga with Adriene
- Joyn youtube channel – *size inclusive at home yoga*
- Edyn Loves Life – *size inclusive at home yoga*
Set an intention for your at home yoga practice
Why are you moving? What’s your intention for your practice? Is there something on your mind you’d like clarity on?
Set an intention for your practice. When you notice yourself getting carried away throughout your practice and making to-do lists in your head, bring yourself back to your intention.
Your intention could just be a word! Maybe “peace”, “hope”, or “clarity.” You can even have a little journaling moment before your practice. Another idea is writing your intention on a sticky note and placing it near your mat.
And maybe you set an intention and your practice gives you something completely different. That’s great! Go with it.
Now that you’re almost ready to move, make sure to limit as many distractions as possible! This is YOUR time to move, connect with your body and yourself. Don’t let work, school, or other distractions take that away from you.
The work will still be there when you finish your practice! Deal with it then.
Tell your family you’re busy, ask your significant other to care for your kid(s) – you’d do it for them!! Put pets away (unless you want the giggle like I do when my cats join me for yoga), put your phone on silent, etc.
Move without expectations
Now, MOVE! Try to release any and all expectations of what it “should” look like. Instead, turn yourself over to the process, even if it’s messy. And actually, especially if it’s messy!
Just like life, you can set the whole scene and it’s nothing like what you thought it would be. BUT it’s still a beautiful life, and a beautiful at home yoga practice.
Take note of how you feel after
One last piece of advice for your at home yoga practice is to just take a quick note of how you feel after. Try to think of three feeling words. For example, refreshed, invigorated, and open.
You can even keep track of these feeling words in your journal to see how your practice changes your feelings over time.
I hope this post was helpful in getting you more centered and grounded in creating your at home yoga practice.