Cultivating an At-Home Yoga Practice

Stella and I are both big yoga fans. We go to classes and attend workshops and events at a variety of our local studios. But we are pretty heavily invested into the class structure. I’ve dabbled in practicing at home, but have never really been able to find a reliable way to stick to a schedule or routine. Over the summer I decided to really try to find ways to entice myself to practice more at home. I like the benefits of solo practice and they only compounded when I found out I was pregnant. My body immediately started feeling and moving differently, coupled with the debilitating nausea and fatigue, classes just weren’t cutting it for a while. I’ve welcomed the ability to get back into classes over the last couple of weeks, but am also really enjoying that an at-home practice has become more a part of my regular routine.

If you’re also looking to start doing more yoga in your house, here are some of my tips, strategies, and “tools of the trade” to best start an at-home practice.

Set the Scene

As you’re setting up your practice space, take note of temperature, sounds, and any other exterior factors you might be able to control. Is your backyard the most calming area of your home? Try doing yoga there! Want to be cozy and have your mat next to the fire or radiator in the winter? Yes, opt in! The best part of doing yoga at home is that you get to choose when, where, and how your practice best fits into your day. So set up your favorite playlist, maybe light some candles, and settle in for your practice, your way.


Prep Yourself

To achieve the best outcome, I can’t emphasize enough setting yourself up for success. Whether that means decking yourself out in some new workout gear (check out our Yoga Gear We Love post for some inspiration!) or setting aside a special part of the house just for your yoga nook, take the time to prepare. If you’ve only ever practiced at a studio, part of that prep work may mean acquiring some new-to-you props. I like this Clever Yoga7-Piece Kit as a starting ground, but if you’re looking for even more, here’s a rundown of some of the (many!) props I’ve acquired of the years:

  • Mat: I recently retired my Lululemon Namastay mat (an older version of this one) in favor of a Manduka Pro. I’m enjoying the extra “grippy-ness” it provides, but both are on the cushier side. If you’re looking for a more minimal mat, I like the Prana E.C.O mat.
  • Blocks: I’m a big fan of the cork blocks, for no real reason beyond preference. If you’re more into synthetic I like these.
  • Strap: I don’t use a strap that often so I like mine to play double duty as a carrying implement, too!
  • Other: Now, really for yoga you don’t need any props. You could very well do any and all poses on the ground with no supports! That being said, there are some fun additions that can help aid and boost your practice. Here’s a rundown on “extras” that are far from necessary but if you like them in your practice, I say go for it!
    • Wheels: Gaiam and UpCircleSeven make the most popular wheels; UpCircle Seven also has a set of varying sizes.
    • Wedges: these come in short lengths and longer ones to soften some harsh ankle angles, support joints, and offer more stability
    • Bolsters: If you’re yin-ing your yoga at all, a bolster is your new best friend. I usually opt for the biggest rectangle-style one I can find but they also come in cylinders and other shapes.
    • Meditation Cushion: Sitting in the same spot for a long time? You’re going to want to be somewhere softer than just your living room floor. Enter, the meditation cushion. Buckwheat filling maintains a softer seat while still giving it some structure.
    • Essential Oils and Diffuser: Find yourself missing the calming and comforting scents of your studio? Try a diffuser with some essential oils (I like lavender and eucalyptus best) to get your mind to settle.
    • Blankets: While you may have started your practice in the sun, perhaps your cool down has hit right with some clouds, shadows, or your AC kicking on. I like to keep a few blankets around and generally prefer ones with a heftier weight.
    • Eye Bags: If you can’t seem to take savasana without gazing around at your house and mentally adding things to your to do list, I’d recommend trying some eye bags. Similar to an eye mask you’d wear on a redeye, bags employ an added weight to keep your focus centered inward.
    • Grippy Socks: I’m actually not a huge fan of grippy socks, because I like to really get my toes activated during yoga. But if you find yourself slipping all over the place during your practice, these might be just the thing you’re looking for!

Remember It’s All For You

No matter your setup, the music that’s playing, or the gear that you’re using, try to keep an open mind about your at-home practice. Just like in a studio, there are going to be great days and there are also going to be “do I know what I’m doing?!” days. If you’re experiencing the latter, take advantage of your solo time by switching up the poses you had planned to do, try switching out your playlist for a new one, or just dive right down to savasana and take some good, relaxing meditation time. Yoga will always be there for you when you decide to get back up.

Does anyone else do yoga regularly at home? What are your tips and tricks to keep you practice steady? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. this post is part of our 30 Blog Post Goals for 2018, check out the full list!

One comment

  1. Wow – your at home yoga expertise rocks! I do just 10 minutes of stretching every day before I hit the treadmill. I still can’t do down-dog pose well, but I keep on trying. It is nice to do a few small stretches to loosen up before running/walking, my day would feel incomplete if I didn’t do it. Way to keep it up during pregnancy, I can’t imagine trying to touch my toes when I was pregnant! 😉

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