I felt a bit nervous posting this one because:
1) It's going to rub the yoga purists the wrong way and
2) Because I'm not some random person on the internet, I am a yoga teacher, and my reputation is on the line here.
However, controversial as they may be, my home yoga secrets make a lot of sense to me and I've decided to not with-hold them, in case they inspire you to commit/ re-commit/ have a crack at, home yoga.
The problem with establishing any new practice, especially a home yoga practice is... motivation.
It gets boring. You’re tired. You’d rather sleep in, watch TV or get some work done.
For the first few days you’re bounding out of bed blazing with an inner fire to Sun Salute your way towards a radical change in your life, and by day four, you just can’t be bothered.
The vision of the thriving, yoga-ing you is fading, the new yoga pants are gathering dust and pretty soon you’re kicking yourself for even trying.
This year I have taken a new approach to my home practice, which has empowered me to do something almost every day and, warning… it’s going to be a bit controversial among the yoga purists, I apologise in advance if I offend anyone.
But, if you're looking to shake things up or start a home practice.... it might just work for you too?
So, what IS my home yoga secret?
It’s not really yoga.
I mean, it is… but it’s made up.
Well, not exactly “made up” as in ”Hey, so my imaginary, friend Charlene and I just did some hypothetical yoga in our invisible lulus”
Not quite like that.
I do the yoga.. but it’s not what you might think.
What the F*** am I talking about?
Alright here goes.
The way I see it, there are 5 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS in my PHYSICAL YOGA PRACTICE
The spiritual mood. I do this by lighting a candle and setting my intention. Aligning my mind is far important to me at this stage of my practice, than perfection in physical shape-making.
2. Moving to feel good
This is where it gets weird. Honestly, I make it up. Yes, I have loads of training in yoga, dance and other body-based practices, and if you've ever set foot in a yoga class you would recognize some of what I do at home as asana. But the magic ingredients for me these days are somatic movement (read: "body in space", often rolling around on the floor, doing whatever feels good) and dance.
The benefit of approaching my "yoga-that's-not-really-yoga-but-really-is", in this way, is that I ensure the practice serves my body. I have old injuries I am working with, and as a therapeutic practice, I much prefer asking my body what she would like, and doing it, rather than banging out some sun salute shapes because... tapas.
I’ve also happen to move to music that would generally be considered NSFY (Not Safe for Yoga), because while I love my wholesome "shanti shanti" music, there are a lot of amazing tracks out there that make me feel... and get in the bhav, but they are just not clean enough for capital Y 'Yoga'. Back in the day, yoga was practiced in silence and many modern yogis still follow this tradition.
Did I really just claim that rolling about on the floor to "explicit" music was yoga?
Yes, I did.
Moving right along...
3. Conscious breathing
Ahhhh- collective exhale- we're back in socially-acceptable-yoga territory. I honestly feel pranayama (yoga breath control exercises) is the unsung heroine of the 8-Limbs. As one who is prone to anxiety, I find my breath is the single most powerful tool to get control of the rising tension in my body-mind, and redirect the prana (life force energy) via my breathing. Pranayama is without a doubt THE MUSCLE of my practice, and the bridge to meditation
4. I take my practice seriously, I take myself less seriously.
I'm serious about the yoga, I've built my life around it after all, but it doesn't live in an ivory tower. It's gritty, it's real and it lives in all the shades of my freakin' messy, fabulous life.
I’ve known Ashtangis who wake up and bang out the same thing every morning… for like, 2 hours. And they love it and swear by it, which is great, but I know myself well enough to know, that’s not my jam. This morning my 2 year old served me breakfast while I practiced: Chatturanga with 13kgs of boisterous boy on my back feeding me a kiwi fruit? You bet! Plus, erm… there was no mat, until he brought me one… (thanks kiddo!) It may have looked like a freakin' circus, but I was present, to myself, to him, and frankly… at this stage of life, this is my yoga. I am different each day, and so my practice fits around my life, to support me to live how I want to live.
It's all about surrender really, knowing how hard to chase for what I want, and when to toss it to the wind. 1 out of every 3 days my children impact my practice; either they join in, or I cut it short. My ego gets in the way ALL the damn time, this is what I mean about not taking myself too seriously. So I allow my practice to adapt to my life, rather than the other way around as I have tried in the past. Not saying this is for everyone, it just works for me where I am at.
The more I meditate the more I want to meditate. It calls to me. I make time for it. Not sure what else to say about this one. I just do it. It gets me through. And "Insight Timer" helps because I track my practice and there’s something so satisfying about getting a streak! #winning ;)
Do you love the idea of creating a home yoga practice? Well, this too could be you (minus the toddler with the kiwi fruit)!
Problem is... how do you even know what elements to include? What movements, what breathing exercises and how on earth does one just meditate?
I've got it easy, I can only do my 'made up yoga' because I have 20+ years of yoga and embodiment practice - it was the most natural and authentic progression for me. Given yoga has become one of three things that helps me keep it together as human being, I had to make my home practice irresistible- something I would crave rather than resist
But what makes YOUR home practice irresistible will be something ENTIRELY different from me. I won't for a minute try to prescribe for you, what I do for myself.
Let me help you find your home yoga secret!
Where ever you are at in your life and health, if your attempts at yoga feel like squeezing a square peg in a round hole; or you are a total newbie and curious to learn how yoga, ie moving and breathing each day can change your life, connect with me here and we set up a time to chat.
Send me a message via the contact form on my site to set up a free 20min call to find out how a home yoga practice, you’ll actually want to do, can support you in living a more balanced, connected and present life.
May you be well, happy and free!
PS. You can find my NSFY Playlist via my Spotify account here & check out my mindful small group yoga classes in Waverton, Sydney... here.