Many of you are reading this blog because either you would like to begin a home practice, or you have an intermittent home practice, which is inconsistent and you are looking for tips and motivation to be more diligent.
For those of you ready to begin your home practice:
I want to first congratulate you, because your intention to practice yoga, meditation, or fitness of any nature at home and be more consistent is going to promote a healthier version of yourself! Brava! It is through consistency where you will experience transformative benefits and change. This motivation that you feel right now will inspire you to create your nook, begin your practice, and continue each and everyday with dedication.
I will mention three necessary steps to initiate your home practice.
Allow me to break it down:
Create The Space
1. Select the area of your home where you will practice! Sculpt a space where you can disconnect from distractions and focus on yourself. This is not a selfish act. Everyone needs to tend to their own needs to invigorate or rejuvenate themselves in this hectic world. What is required from this area of your home is enough room to move around: You can stand up freely, open your arms, or lunge to the side and you won't hit anything.
Once you've found a place where you can move liberally, you then need colors and art that positively affect your emotions.
- It is well documented that colors affect our moods and thoughts. Once you know how you will use your space you can decide if you want colors to uplift and energize you, or if you will choose shades and tones to calm and relax you. For example, reds are intense and stimulating, while yellows convey joy and impulsivity, and blues are serene and soothing. Greens are most harmonious and balancing. Etc.
- De-clutter so that you only see what you want and need to see within the confines of your nook. Clutter creates mental stress where it is easy to feel overwhelmed and trapped. Take some time putting everything in your nook away where it belongs or donate it. From my experience in the art of non-attachment, if I'm on the fence whether or not to keep something, it's this simple: "If it's not an absolute Yes, then it's a No."
- Lastly, place the items that you'll need for your practice: a yoga mat, yoga props (bolster, belts, blocks, blankets), zafu pillow or blankets for meditation, mala, incense, sage for smudging, set out your weights, resistance bands, or whatever you need, near your yoga mat. However, you also need a container or closet where you can put everything away upon completion. Clean up after yourself. Each and everyday you should enter an organized and inspiring environment.
Begin Your Practice
2. Start practicing! The time is now! Walk into your new beautiful space and start moving or put on a video to follow. Infuse your space with your intention: To be healthy. Feel grateful. Gratitude is inspiring, motivating, and it generates an incredible amount of positive energy!
3. Consistency is key! This means that everyday you need to walk into your space and give something of yourself to continue the flow of energy/chi into this safe creative haven that you've designed. On days when you feel tired, unenthused, uninspired, emotional, or whatever, just enter your space and allow the beauty there to fuel you. Maybe your practice on a low energy day is meditation to find balance. Maybe it's journaling to unburden yourself.
Just show up!
For my second group who has become derailed.
There are several reasons why we become inconsistent. Fatigue is a main reason. In my early thirties I felt a lack of motivation after having a baby, and some postpartum anxiety. I felt low energy, my body felt foreign and heavy, I felt frustrated and uncertain how I needed to move to feel better, because I couldn't remember my reference point. What helped was the mantra: Be gentle with yourself. It transformed my attitude! Those early hours after nursing my baby I realized there was an opportunity. Time for me! My practice started slow, just some pranayamas (breathing techniques), simple floor stretches, and meditation. On mornings when I felt especially tired, I just gave myself permission to do what I could, but no matter what I showed up to my "healing nook." After weeks of consistency, my practice evolved, I was moving more, resuscitating my practice, feeling present, optimistic, and becoming physically stronger.
We become derailed by stress. However, according to National Center For BioTechnology, yoga and meditation help to strengthen our vagal tone. This makes us bulletproof! Well, not really, but the vagus nerve is our largest cranial nerve; it wanders through our body calming organs after a stress response. A strong vagal tone helps us to relieve stress, relax faster, reset our immune system, and respond to stress in a healthier way. This acts as the mind-body connection.
Remember that yoga is a practice. It's not perfect. You have to practice to progress. Keep showing up. Give yourself what you need that day. It should remain simple enough so that you want to continue. Be inspired.
Here are a few suggestions to remain inspired:
- Subscribe to an educational magazine or borrow a book from the library on a subject that not only interests you, but inspires you to try something new in your personal practice.
- Explore your body while you move on your mat: Which muscles are engaged? What is the quality of your breath? How does this make you feel? What thoughts arise here? Are you locked up in any way?
- Journal your reflections.
- Celebrate your progress.
It only takes 3 weeks to begin new healthy habits. Think about it like this: Your body is a container like a bucket. What fills your bucket giving you energy is your practice. Let's compare your practice to water, which is vital and nourishing.
Here's my analogy: each time you practice there is a drop in the bucket. After a few days there isn't much there, but it is building. If you tip the bucket, little falls out. Over time if you continue adding to the bucket it will hold weight. If it spills, the water will travel for a long distance creating a nourishing stream. With a consistent practice the benefits build, there is significance that will travel a long distance. Your practice will support you for a long time.
In a nutshell, keep practicing! Make yourself a priority.