Top tips to start and maintain a yoga home practice

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If your New Year’s resolution is to practise yoga more regularly by yourself at home, read on! You may have decided this for your general well-being, or because you have a specific health problem that you would like to manage with yoga.

After all, conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, stress, back pain and many more can respond positively to a regular and targeted yoga practice. A regular yoga practice will give you results, but it is good to keep in mind that yoga is a journey and not a quick fix.

Once you have made this resolution, the difficulty is often to keep the discipline going. Below are some tips that may help you persevere.

1. Know why you want to practise yoga regularly and what your goals are. If it helps, write the incentive down and display it to remind you.

2. Leave a yoga mat rolled out in a place that you can keep as your special yoga space. This means one less step to get onto the mat! It also helps to associate one place with yoga and to choose a room/corner that you particularly like.

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3. Identify a time in the day when you can do your yoga. Keep it realistic: getting up every day at 5am may not be sustainable if you have never been able to do this. It might, we can always change, but have a plan B. Write it in your (mental or real) diary as an exclusive yoga time and don’t allow anything else to interfere. If we wait for the yoga session to ‘happen’ when we find a moment, usually that magical time will never occur. One of my most helpful strategies has been to plan for my own practice and give it the same priority as other scheduled events.

4. When you are new to yoga and to a yoga home practice, keep it short: better start with 15 minutes a day than 1 hour. The 1-hour ideal is more likely to be perpetually postponed than 15 minutes. A longer session can then grow more naturally from an established habit.

4. Write down a little programme in advance, initially sticking to yoga poses that you know well. You can find a sequence you like in a good yoga book or work from memory. Vary the sequence so that you don’t do the same movements every day.

Having a programme will make it easier to actually do it. Your plan will give you something concrete, with a clear beginning and an end. Decide after every practice what the next session should entail and write it down again. Even though you have this programme, stay sensitive to your body’s needs. Some days you may want to add something more dynamic, while on other days resting in a restorative pose is the best choice.

Wishing you lots of joy with your regular yoga practice!

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