Top 5 Tips for Creating + Sustaining Your Own Home Yoga Practice

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In honor of both the workshop + e-course I am putting out this summer, I wanted to share my top five tips for upping the game when it comes to a true, awesome, DIY hOMe yoga practice.

  1. Set an intention. What do you want your own practice to convey about you? This intention is not static; it can and will vary. When I first began practicing, my intention was to be present and while it was great for me at the time, it is not super unique or personal. I now go by the three F’s (yeah, I know I love alliteration) – fierce, fun, and flowing. That is what I want my practice to convey about me. My yoga practice on the mat should be reflective of who I want to be off the mat.
  2. Music is an excellent motivator for a yoga practice. Mixing up the music is a way to not get bored, even when doing the same poses over and over again. It also makes a practice that can sometimes seem foreign to our bodies an integrated part of day-to-day life. Hearing a Top 40 song when in Warrior II just might make the difference between a serious frown and the joyful smile that is the goal of Yoga. Break down the parts of the practice and dissect what music is good for each part.

  3. Mix and match / don’t get bored. There are plenty of styles of yoga out there, from Jivamukti to Iyengar. Your job as a divinely unique being, is not to choose between them. It is, rather, to use discernment in creating a practice all your own by combining them. That’s right – you, too, can create your own style of yoga! It will emerge from your personal practice.
  4. Put your mat somewhere unavoidable. Allow your mat to be a physical reminder to practice yoga. Position it somewhere you walk by every single day (near your bed, in a doorway, in front of your closet, you get the picture).
  5. Chunk It Up. A home practice does not have to all happen at once. You can sync it up with the times of day to make it less daunting. Have 5 minutes in the morning when you roll out of bed? Use them for your sun salutations! Have 5 minutes at night? Use them for your forward folds. Feeling tired at work? Backbend in the hallway. Do whatever you need to do to make it seem like less of a big deal, and you’ll still reap all the amazing benefits!

The workshop I am teaching on June 25th at Harlem Yoga Studio will delve deeper into each of these tips. Register here!

15 Minutes a Day

This post is part of the EuroTrip 2016 series, as well as the forthcoming Home Practice series on the blog! 

 Cheers from the train from London to Edinburgh! It has been quite a week since I last posted on the blog – I started spring break, made it to another part of the world, and thoroughly explored London on foot. I’m now en route to visit my sister where she is studying abroad in Scotland. These moments on the train feel more than welcome to sit back, relax, and reflect.

All of that said, this blog post isn’t even about something that is specific to my trip! I often find that, especially when it concerns the yoga practice, Jo said it best in Little Women, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

I knew going into this trip that my priority when abroad would not be to check out all the yoga studios in the UK. No, my priority was to see the sights and experience a rich cultural history. Even so, I didn’t want my practice to fall by the wayside as a result. So, whenever I felt inclined to practice (note: this worked best in the morning), I set my iPhone timer for 15 minutes and began with some sun salutations.  

 Over tea at Yumchaa in Camden, my bf and I discussed exercise and self-care and how hard the two can be when work feels crazy and dominates our waking hours. Inspired by my 15 minutes of yoga practice that morning, I told him that we need to let go of extremes when it comes to “fitting things in.” Extremes lead to feelings of failure. Feelings of failure lead to discouragement. When it comes to treating our bodies well, we need encouragement, fluidity, and the knowledge that a little goes a long way.

So on this trip, I am witnessing the ways that 15 minutes, when done repeatedly, encourages creativity and consistency: core parts of a home practice – especially a portable one. A timer set to 15 minutes acts as a boundary, a container, that I fill with the creativity, art, metaphor and rigor of the body. And when traveling a humongous city on foot, 15 minutes goes a long way to reset the body-mind.

Most importantly: it is yoga that can be done wherever, whenever. All we need to do is begin.

This summer, I will be releasing a DIY Home Practice E-Course. If you feel inspired by this post, I can guarantee that this e-course is for you. Sign up for email updates on the homepage of my teaching website, ShiraEngel.com!