So regular readers will know that I think yoga rocks. I’ve waxed lyrical before about the benefits and how much I enjoy it. (PS. Absolutely none of the images in this post are of me!)
Until recently I usually practised yoga in a class under the watchful eye of a qualified teacher. Sometimes I would go through phases of following YouTube videos but until this year I rarely did any indpendent yoga by myself.
But I’ve come to realise I don’t need to go to a class to do yoga – having been to hundreds of them I have, at the very least, got the basics down.
So I decided to start doing some practice at home. My plan was never for three hour yoga sessions, but just to find 10 or 15 minutes in a day to do some poses.
And it’s making a difference – yoga always does when i practise it regularly. I have more energy, I’m happier and I even stand taller. I’m short so every little helps!
I should make it clear, of course, that i am in no way qualified to teach or advise anyone on the practise of yoga. But these are a few tips I’ve pulled together about practising at home.
Keep Your Mat Out
Actually the very first thing is to get your very own yoga mat. They don’t cost the earth but the slightly soft, non-stick surface is the best place to do yoga. You won’t slip and it will cushion the bits of you on the ground.
My mat lives at the bottom of my bed so I can roll onto it every morningg but during a recent spate of decorating I put it away. It took me a week to realise I hadn’t done any yoga since then. If your mat is out then you’re much more likely to use it.
If you can, find a nice neutral space where you can create a dedicated yoga space in your home.
Choose your own Soundtrack
It took me ages to realise that it’s ok to listen to music while you do yoga. All the classes I’ve been to haven’t played it but of course the teacher needs to make themselves heard. A lot of people will meditate while they do yoga but I don’t – I find some nice tunes will clear and focus my mind much better. You can listen to anything from pan pipes to thrash metal. Or silence if you prefer, the point is it’s up to you.
Every little helps
I’ve been trying to establish a yoga habit – to do my practise as soon as I get out of bed in the morning. But I’ve realised there is no good or bad time to do yoga. In the morning it rouses and energises you, in the evenings it relaxes you and helps you sleep. During the day it gives you a bit of time out and a good stretch is always good for those who sit at a desk all day.
Find out more
There are tons of websites, blogs and books about yoga out there that can tell you more about what you’re doing, why you should do it and how to do more of it. Yogajournal.com and Yogabasics.com are a couple of favourites. It’s also worth checking out social media – there are plenty of yogis on Instagram to follow.
Go To A Class
Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? I’m not saying you need to do a class every week but if you’re practicing by yourself attending the occasional class will pay dividends. A qualified teacher can spot your mistakes and correct your posture in a way that books and videos can’t. Most of us have some kind of ache or pain these days and a qualified and experienced teacher can can show you variations to suit your particular physical needs. There are drop in classes or more intense yoga workshops all over Belfast for you to try out. My go-tos are Maitri Studio in east Belfast and Yoga Belfast which has classes all over the place.