Yoga Home Practice: The Ultimate in Self-Care
As a full-time employee, full-time single mom, writer and yoga teacher, my time is very limited. Since free time is pretty scarce, I’m too often unable to make time for my yoga home practice.
Yet my whole life suffers when I fail to make it a priority.
In a recent YogaUOnline interview, yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater says that a lack of a home practice is less of a time crunch issue, and more of a refusal-to-nurture-us issue.
Tennessee yoga teacher Anita Delashmit agrees.
“Self care is the most important thing you can do,” said Delashmit. “Make yourself a priority. You are teaching others to do the same, and leading by example is the best way.”
As yoga teachers we give so much to our students, it’s easy to burn out and ignore our own needs. But just as we can’t be good mothers if we don’t take care of ourselves first, we can’t be good teachers if we aren’t regularly getting on the mat for ourselves.
A good home yoga practice, like any good practice, should constantly change and evolve with the rest of your life.
“This last year I have needed a lot more Restorative Yoga. I have had to learn to be softer with myself, and learn that my body needs rest sometimes, and my home practice reflects that,” said Delashmit.
Lasater addressed the issue of taking time off from a home yoga practice in a recent Today’s Yoga Question YouTube episode. In it she emphasizes that a home yoga practice will naturally ebb and flow with the needs of daily life. She says it’s important we allow ourselves permission to not just make time for our practice, but also to give ourselves permission to take time off from an asana practice when necessary.
“I used to feel like a bad yogi if I didn’t have a regular traditional asana practice. But now I look at how am I treating myself, how am I treating those around me,” said Delashmit. “If I cut myself some slack and get much needed sleep, instead of my asana practice, I am practicing yoga. If I am planting trees or teaching my children how to grow their own food, I am practicing yoga.”
A home yoga practice is meant to be a place of peace and comfort, not another stressful line on our never-ending to-do list.
My own home yoga space has only three criteria:
Fit into my already over-scheduled, chaotic life
So this means no bubbling fountains or large expensive Buddha statues.
It does mean keeping my yoga mat and block ready and waiting in the corner of my bedroom. I don’t have much open space in my room, but it’s enough to roll out my mat. Sometimes I will follow an online yoga class, other times I just start moving and follow where my body tells me to go.
My bolster sits right next to my bed. Many nights I use it to prop myself on the bed while I’m journaling (a form of meditative yoga), or in the morning I’ll plop down on it for a few minutes of quiet meditation before I start my day.
Like both Lasater and Delashmit have expressed, I’ve learned that the beauty of a home practice is it is always there for me when I am ready. More importantly, I can make that practice be whatever I need or want for myself that day.
“Yoga isn’t just what you do on the mat. It’s a lifestyle,” said Delashmit.
Taking care of our physical, spiritual and emotional needs isn’t self-indulgent. In fact it’s quite necessary to our well-being. A yoga home practice can be an essential component to a vital well-rounded healthy lifestyle.
You might also be interested in YogaUOnline’s Premium Practice Channel – A superb home practice resource!
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Jennifer Williams-Fields is passionate about writing, yoga, traveling, public speaking and being a fabulous single momma to six super kids. Doing it all at one time, however, is her great struggle. She has been teaching yoga since 2005 and writing since she first picked up a crayon. Although her life is a sort of organized chaos, she loves every minute of the craziness and is grateful for all she’s learned along the way. Her first book “Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom” is now available on Amazon. She has had her essays featured on Yahoo! and Dr. Oz The Good Life. She is a regular writer for Elephant Journal Magazine, Your Tango and YogaUOnline. See more from Jennifer at jenniferwilliamsfields.com