{Week 3 of Yogust} Practicing yoga is like brushing my teeth and tips for home practice

I brush my teeth after almost every meal (I keep a toothbrush in my desk drawer).  It feels weird, off, and frankly gross if I don’t.

Now, if I haven’t done my minimum of 5 sun salutations by the end of the day, it feels weird, off, and frankly gross.  Doing yoga every day is as natural as brushing my teeth, which I guess is the goal of these 30 day challenges.  My body has gotten used to being stretched out at some point during the day,  and my mind used to taking a little vacation as I submerge myself in the rhythm of a practice.  It’s amazing what even 5 minutes can do for your alignment – physical, mental, and emotional.

Doing yoga every day necessitates having a home practice – I don’t have the time (or money) to go to a yoga studio every day.  Having a strong home practice means that I can do yoga more regularly, and tailor it to the amount of time I have and what I need.  I try to go to at least one studio class a week to make sure I’m maintaining good form, get diversity in my practice, and maintain a sense of community.

This post on the Strala yoga blog reminded me that having a home practice can be challenging.  Here are a few things I do to make a home practice work for me:

  • Create Space: I live in a small studio, so I sleep, work, live, and do yoga in the same room.  I don’t have the luxury of a separate space to do yoga – there’s barely even space for my mat on the floor.  However, the act of moving my ottoman out of the way, lighting a candle, and rolling out my mat has become a little ritual that creates the mental space for me to practice yoga.  I also turn off my phone and email notifications so that there are no distractions.
  • Rock Out: I have created a few yoga playlists for my home practice for different moods and types of practice (and even times of day).  It’s another way to create space and to make yoga fun.  Try timing your practice to the music – it starts to feel like dancing.
  • Be Led: You don’t have to do it alone – there is an abundance of free and pay classes online, both video and audio (refer to my recap below, the post on the first half of Yogust, and my Enlighten page).  I like being led by someone else to make sure I have a well-rounded practice.  I like not knowing what is coming next.  It also helps me relax my mind by completely listening to someone else’s voice, rather than my own.  Some of the audio classes I listen to are recordings of actual classes, so they satisfy the sense of community and gathering that a yoga class gives.

That said, I also want to work on having a stronger self-guided practice.  Have any tips?  Let me know in comments.

8/16:     5 sun salutations – had to make jam.
8/17:     5 sun salutations.  Wanted to do a full class but life got in the way.
8/18:     Balancing Flow (20 minutes).  Understated flow with a lot of balancing poses.  Not recommended for beginners because there isn’t a lot of cuing (but if you’ve done yoga for a while you will be fine).  Eagle, half-moon, twisted half-moon, dancer’s pose, and tree.  Stretched me out and made me feel aligned, like I was standing taller after the practice.
8/19:     Three Dog Yoga POWER podcast (75-minute)  I like these podcasts because they make me feel like I’m in a class (they’re recorded live, so you hear real life corrections and conversations).  Ana took the mic off for a few minutes to explain a transition to the class, so I couldn’t hear what was going on and just did some forearm planks instead.  I really like Ana’s style – soulful but a little irreverent.  I recommend trying these podcasts, but only if you’ve got a good foundation in yoga and can practice with only verbal cues.
8/20:     5 sun salutations
8/21:     Tara Stiles youtube video Yoga to Open Your Back and Hips.  My low back really hurts after a day at the office, even though I do as much as I can to have a healthy back at work – I sit on a balance ball, stand as often as possible, try to engage my core, etc.  By mid-week it really feels tense, so today I looked for something specifically geared for releasing the low back.  This one is ok, a little too fast but I liked the breathing at the end to slow me down.  Anything that has plow pose and shoulder stand get bonus points from me.  No, I did not do the headstands, that is just outside my reach now (but one day!).  Also did this quick video – Chill Out: Hips, Hammies, and Low Back  – which is nice and easy.  The twists felt great to open up my low back.
8/22:     I turned out the light and laid down in bed, closing my eyes with a sigh after a fun evening.  Then my eyes shot open.  I forgot to do yoga when I got home.  Crap.  Should I skip it?  Missing one day isn’t a big deal.  I’m already in bed…. Crap.  I need to do it.  I switched on the light and did a few sun salutations.  And you know what?  I’m glad I did.  It felt good to stretch out just before I went to sleep.  I did yoga in my pjs in under five minutes, and didn’t miss a day of the challenge.
8/23:     Self guided routine for 30 minutes.
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7 thoughts on “{Week 3 of Yogust} Practicing yoga is like brushing my teeth and tips for home practice

  1. Thanks for this, Martine! I am 1) more inspired to actually pursue a 30-day challenge of my own and 2) more excited about getting my yoga on. Will definitely check out your online yoga links in future. I think that 20 minutes should do it for me!

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