Become the Artist of your own yoga practice with Elizabeth Welty
You don’t need any experience with yoga to start, only the desire to learn and be present. Practising yoga at home has loads of benefits – you can practice anywhere (within reason!), day or night, wear what you like and you don’t need much in the way of equipment. Best of all, yoga at home teaches you to pay attention to your own body, to understand what it needs on any given day and practice in a way that supports you both physically, mentally and emotionally.
A few loving tips to get you started….
Get a mat and grab some props
One of the best things about yoga is that you don’t need much equipment. However, a mat and props can help your alignment and make some poses more comfortable. A few props that are helpful for your home practice include a bolster, blocks and a blanket. But your household items will do.
Be the Artist of your practice space
Create your practice space somewhere that is generally peaceful and quiet, with plenty of space for you to stretch out. In addition to your own artwork – you may want to decorate your practice space with things like candles, an inspiring photograph or a quote.
Commit to a time and make it achievable
Keep stepping into your mat as often as you can and remember that the most important thing….. just show up on your mat open, present, accepting and curious – wherever it happens to be.
Consider what works best for you – are you a morning person or an evening person? Could you squeeze in some yoga on your lunch break? As for the ‘ideal’ length of time to practice, be kind and realistic - perhaps start by making a commitment to practice for 10 minutes a day, or block out a few days where you can manage a longer chunk of time. The key is, it has to fit in with your life – if it doesn’t you won’t maintain it.
Follow your body’s lead
It can always be a bit intimidating to try something new – perhaps you’ve got that nagging worry that you won’t know what to do; yoga does not need to be perfect! Just get on your mat and wriggle around for five minutes doing what feels nice for your body, or perhaps just sit quietly. Any time that you take to tune in to truly listen to your body and let it lead the way, rather than your mind, is yoga.
Watch out for the 3 Ps
Always honour your body’s boundaries and avoid pain, pinching and pushing. If you’re new to yoga it might be difficult to distinguish between pain and discomfort. Pain feels hot and sharp, whereas discomfort is more of a dull, nagging sensation. If you do feel pain, move gently rather than suddenly out of the pose. If you feel discomfort, perhaps you can soften or adjust or even use props to assist you.
Have Fun – this is a Treat….
When you’re starting out, practice a class or sequence that you enjoy so you’ll have an incentive to roll out your mat. What about putting some music on or practising with friends?