How to develop a homegrown self-practice

I’m staring at the clock. I know I have to leave now if I want to make it to class, but I just can’t find the motivation to get moving. I know that I will feel better if I make it to my mat, but the thought of racing across town and competing to find floor space, in an already cramped class, is off-putting.

Sometimes the effort it takes to get to yoga class outweighs the benefits and somehow turns into another source of stress, rendering it counter-productive. Just last week my good intentions backfired when I woke up early to get to a 7am class, only to find it had been canceled and I wasn’t notified.

So I simply watch the minute hand of my watch tick on, until it is definitely too late and I resolve to try again tomorrow, when perhaps it will feel like less of a rush.

It wasn’t until I moved back to a city, after years of living on yoga retreat that I realised how challenging it can be to make time for yoga practice.

My old lifestyle meant I would rise easily at 5.30am and do an hour or two of practice before teaching or beginning my day. But, once in Amsterdam, I noticed that when life got busy yoga was the first thing to slip from my schedule because the times when yoga was available didn’t fit with my availability. And, if I’m honest I don’t always enjoy the pace and agenda of the class being set by someone else when I’m trying to centre myself in my own space.

After years of Mysore self-practice, when you are in a classroom but taught 1-2-1, I have discovered there is a certain brand of magic that comes from self-practice.

Although I don’t always practice Ashtanga anymore, I have carefully cultivated a home self-practice that offers the same connection. A homegrown self-practice offers the chance for greater self-awareness, the root from which self-enquiry and self-knowledge can grow. Simply put self-practice invites us into a more intimate state of being with ourselves.

Developing a self-practice isn’t difficult. You just need a few tools to begin, the rest is a question of tuning in.

Here a just a few reasons to explore a self-practice:

You choose where you practice

Rushing off to the studio becomes a thing of the past. You only need to find space to unroll your yoga mat and you can begin, at a time that suits you, and on sunny days you can take your practice into the garden or your local park!

You make it fit in with your schedule

Just 10 minutes of mindful breathing, 15 minutes of stretching or a few sun salutations can make a difference to your day, and with a home practice you can fit it in at a time that suits you, without stress.

You’re in control

Not only does a self-practice put you in control of where and when you practice, you can also choose HOW to practice meaning you’re able to honour your own individual needs more easily.

It’s free

Yoga class prices have sky-rocketed since I started teaching and I find what some studios charge shocking. A homegrown self-practice needs minimum investment and no membership. All you need is a mat.

There are plenty of ways to cultivate a home-practice. There is are a wealth of books available on every style of yoga that you can refer too. There are also vast volumes of online classes and tutorials that you can learn from and follow.

If you’re serious about cultivating a homegrown self-practice you can also consider investing in a course at your local studio, an immersion or yoga retreat that will introduce you to the most fundamental principles needed to develop a strong, insightful, informed and heartfelt yoga practice.