I was a freshman in college when I went to my first yoga class. While many of my dorm-mates were gathered in our tiny common room to watch the weekly episode of Felicity, I headed off to yoga.
In those early years of my yoga practice, I didn’t do yoga at home at all.
I relied heavily on weekly classes with my favorite teachers at my favorite studio (long live Virayoga).
In fact, my home yoga practice only started because I became full obsessed with handstand.
For awhile, my home yoga practice consisted of repeated attempts kicking up into handstand between my front door and my kitchen stove. Things got really interesting every time I accidentally switched the burners on.
Later, I brought my home practice with me to the gym. My NYC apartment was not ideal for home practice, unless I wanted to set my feet on fire. So I popped into forearm stands and crow poses while I waited for the elliptical machines at New York Sports Club.
I didn’t really have a legit home yoga practice until I took my first Yoga Teacher Training in 2005. One of the requirements of this training was a regular (read: daily) 60-minute home practice.
I kind of panicked at first.
My previous attempts at home practice were minimal and cramped. I didn’t think I could stretch out a home yoga practice into a full hour.
Turns out that when you’re 24 and have no kids or major responsibilities, 60 minutes of yoga is easy peasy hamstrings squeezey.
For years after that YTT, I had a fantastic daily home yoga practice that was filled with challenging poses and vinyasa adventures.
Flash forward to becoming a mom and suddenly my long practices disappeared into piles of dirty laundry.
I was too exhausted to practice first thing in the morning from sleepless nights interrupted by my daughter’s insistent cries to nurse.
And when I tried to squeeze in some yoga during her naps, she’d magically wake up after 15 minutes in.
Truthfully, it wasn’t all bad. Eventually, I got into a good rhythm and was practicing daily again.
And then I had another baby.
While my daily routines were more on point during this second postpartum period, I had less time than before.
At first I lamented the loss of my long practices.
And then, I shifted my perspective.
Now, 3 kids into motherhood, I’ve gotten really good at the yoga quickie.
I’ve also learned a few important lessons about having a home yoga practice that I wasn’t taught in my YTT.
I had to learn it the hard way.
So I’m sharing them with you so that you stop beating yourself up for not having the perfect space or best props or fancy pants or enough time.
And instead embrace the fact that yoga doesn’t have to meet “perfect” standards in order to be satisfying.
Top Tips for a Stress-Free Home Yoga Practice
1. You don’t need an hour for an effective, impactful yoga practice.
5 minutes of movement is better than 0 minutes of movement. And if you know how, you can create 5-10 minute practices that get you just as “deeply” into challenging or complex poses, if that’s your goal. See this post as an example.
Same thing goes for meditation. You don’t need 30 minutes of meditation. 2-5 minutes is sufficient. Truly.
2. You don’t need a dedicated yoga room.
You don’t even need a dedicated yoga space. All you need is enough room to lay out your mat. And even then, you can really practice anywhere. Mat or no mat. I do yoga in my kitchen when I’m feeding my kids. And I’ve done yoga at rest stops on road trips, in my bed room, on my living room couch….you name it, I’ve probably done some sort of movement there.
Also, your shower is a fantastic place for a quick meditation. The water provides great white noise.
If you need some inspiration here, check out the FREE 7-Day Yoga Challenge I’m offering called DO YOGA EVERYWHERE.
3. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.
Most days I do a version of a practice I did the day before. Or I pick a pose I want to work on and do 5 poses to get me there. Sometimes I get inspiration from other teachers I admire and put my own spin on a sequence they’ve shared.
The point is: not every practice has to be a yoga revolution. Sometimes it’s just tending your body through consistency and repetition.
4. Fancy props are overrated.
They’re cool, just unnecessary. There is so much you can do with just your mat and a blanket or a towel. If you don’t have yoga blocks, you can get creative with whatever you have on hand. I actually have a YouTube video all about creative ways you can accessorize your yoga practice. Check it out here.
5. Your practice doesn’t have to be an event.
It can be a part of your day. In fact, it can be many parts of your day. While I was writing this blog, I took a quick movement break and did a few handstands just for fun. Energized my body and made me ready to write some more.
When you make your practice an event, it’s really easy to feel shitty when you miss the “big event.” And even easier to not find a way to replace it with other movement later.
If you make movement a part of your day, it’s easy to pop into tree pose while chopping veggies or bust out a few sun salutations while your kids are in the bath.
6. Consistency matters.
In terms of big event vs small event, think of it more as being consistent. If you do a little bit of movement everyday at the same time, when you do miss it, your body will notice and beg you to move again. Your body is less likely to notice if you do one day of 60 minutes and then not do anything the next day because it’s too much. But if you do 5-10 minutes every day consistently and then miss a day, you will absolutely notice and not tolerate it.
7. What you wear doesn’t matter.
This might be an obvious one, but I used to “dress up” for my yoga practice. I’d put on my favorite leggings and a clean top. Now, I practice in whatever I’m wearing when I roll out of bed. Sometimes it’s actual yoga clothes. Other times, I’m in a tank top and underwear. Sometimes I practice yoga in my overalls. So long as you can easily and freely move in them, wear whatever you want.
Does this help? Are you a little more motivated to move your body anytime, anywhere?
Let me know in the comments below!