How To Create A Home Practice
How To Create A Home Practice?
Practicing at home has loads of benefits such as learning to pay attention to your own body and to how you feel, to better understand what kind of practice you need on any given day. It is a great complement to studio classes and allows you the freedom to add on meditation and breathing practices too. Starting a home practice is essentially about creating a new ritual or habit.
A designated space in your home, such as free wall space and floor space makes it easy to start and maintain a practice. You want to create an easy path to step onto your mat, if there are physical obstacles, such as needing to move furniture around, it will feel too hard to start. Make it easy for yourself and have everything you need on hand. Purchasing props such as a yoga mat, blocks and blankets will help your physical practice, but it will also help your mindset. Deciding to create a space and purchasing what you need for a home practice is a promise you make to yourself. Make it easy to stay committed to your new habit and set yourself up for success by preparing your surroundings to support the habit that you are trying to develop.
A behaviour becomes a habit when it becomes completely automated. This requires time, dedication and the removal of obstacles. After a while the impetus becomes stronger until it turns into something innate and natural.
Finding your why or the real reason behind wanting to start to a home practice will help to find the discipline you need. The purpose of your new habit is fuel to your commitment to yourself. A side benefit of this commitment is the trust you develop in yourself which will have an impact in every area of your life.
Setting an intention based on the benefits you will feel, will give you the dedication that you need. Dedication is an intentional and skilful way to keep coming back to that which nourishes you, inspires you and helps you grow. To find this dedication, the heart needs to set a firm intention. Then for that intention to become fully manifest, we can consciously and patiently dedicate ourselves to our path through our practice. It takes gentle perseverance, a spoonful of grit and joyful effort for us to generate change. Practice will give rise to new patterns of experience. Heartfelt discipline and skilful dedication can help you remove the blocks that are in the way of your unfolding.
Focus on the process and not the end goal of a morning yoga practice for 30 days as it might feel insurmountable. It is the daily micro steps, too small to fail habits, that will give you the path towards your end goal.
Programming behaviours as habits takes the struggle out of adding new rituals to your life. With a small amount of initial discipline, you can create a new habit that requires little effort to maintain.
The 5 second rule from Mel Robbins; the moment you hesitate before doing something, like getting out of bed in the morning, count 5-4-3-2-1 Go and move towards the action. This can be impetus you need or the hook to remind you of your intention.
Making a very small promise to yourself sets you up to succeed and once you have completed your practice, even if it is 5 mins of breath practice, acknowledge that you showed up for yourself. Remember that creating change is hard so if there is a day you don’t do your practice or your routine, be kind to yourself and speak to yourself as a wise inner parent. Become aware of a tendency to either self-punishment or ruminating negative self-talk, counterbalance those thoughts with what you wish a kind parent would say to you.
Here are some tips for creating new habits:
Commit to a time- preferably the same time every day so that it fits easily into your life.
Set a timer or make the practice at a time that is easy to remember, such as first thing in the morning.
Commit to 30 days- three to four weeks is the time you need to make a habit automatic. The early stage is the conditioning phase, after this the habit becomes easier to sustain.
Make it daily- consistency is critical if you want to make a habit stick
Start small and simple- micro steps. Even 5 mins a day will make a difference. Don’t try and completely change your routine in one day.
Allow imperfection- for example if you wake up late and only have 10 minutes instead of the usual 30 minutes, still do your practice and be kind to yourself. Remember that it is process and the benefits accrue with time.
Set the intention- write it down in your journal or your calendar. If you write it down regularly, it will make you more accountable
Find an online class that appeals to you and makes getting on the mat. Choose the class the evening before.
Watch out for the 3 Ps- Always honour your body and avoid pain, pinching and pushing.
Try getting on your mat and doing your own thing, build up to adding your ‘freeform’ practice at the end of your online class.
The rituals you create to connect with yourself means your inner radiance will grow and you will witness the benefits in your life as your behaviour become the habits that support you.
And there is no perfect time to start, no perfect timing. So just start, even if it is waking up 5 minutes earlier to do a breath practice in your bed. You can add on 5 minutes every day or one extra pose. As you start to feel the benefits, the habit will become easy to maintain.
Thank you for showing up for yourself.
By Amanda Wiart Yoga Teacher and Founder of Yogi Spirit.