Practical Tips for Making Practice Really Happen

Here are some ways I’ve found to make consistent and satisfying home practice really happen:

  1. Schedule it. Put it in your agenda(s) and prioritize it as an important appointment with yourself.
  2. Have a reliable way to remind yourself (post-it notes, phone alerts and texts to yourself are all good!).
  3. Think about what you’re going to practice the night before.
  4. Seek out input from a teacher you trust for sequences and guidance on what will serve you best.
  5. Commit to a minimum amount of practice times weekly that you will not go below and hold yourself to it.
  6. Have props visible.
  7. Have a practice buddy.
  8. Practice as early in the day as you can.
  9. Be flexible: If you get sidetracked from your planned practice, reschedule it and reformulate your plan as necessary. It's better to do less than nothing at all. 
  10. Take hold of the wisdom of yoga and teachings of other sacred traditions for inspiration and to move through resistance and other emotional challenges.
  11. Remember your intention for practice, what motivates you. Recognize the role yoga plays in your life and remind yourself why you are practicing.
  12. Articulate the effects of your practice. Have a small notebook near you and at the end take just 1 or 2 minutes to write down (or even just think about) the effects of your practice, any insights or questions. Articulating your experience allows you to process and build on them. Writing things down or just sitting quietly at the end of practice you begin to notice shifts and capture insights. This will motivate you next time!

Tips for Structuring Your Home Practice

  1. Work with set sequences – books, what you learn in classes can write it down, online from teachers.
  2. Begin with something you love that feels great in your body.
  3. Focus on a different class of poses each practice, each week or each month - Different focus each week – standing poses 1st week of the month, forward bends, backbends, hip openers, arm balances.
  4. Move through a syllabus or list of poses over time
  5. Create seasonal goals  to work on a specific type of posture or group of postures.
  6. Use a timer to keep track of holdings, meditation
  7. Move the spine through the 6 planes of movement each practice.
  8. Is there a part of the body you want to strengthen, open, re-pattern?  Spend 10 minutes on it each practice. This can include therapeutic work, core strengthening for example.
  9. Be creative in incorporating other movement and mind-body modalities into your practice. Pilates, dance, physic exercises, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique and Ball work are just a few of the many possibilities.

NEXT WEEK: What to practice if you have 15, 30 or 60 minutes with sequences and a pose syllabus!


UPCOMING EVENTS

Evolving your Yoga

Wanderlust Studio, Montreal, QC

Thursday, March 9 7:30-9pm

Are you a yoga teacher or student interested in expanding the benefits of your yoga practice without necessarily doing more or working harder? Do you sense (or even know) that yoga can serve you in bigger ways and yet are unsure how to go about extracting the richness of the practice? Join us for this interactive, engaging and practical discussion with special guest and experienced yoga teacher Barrie Risman, about getting the most out of your yoga practice by:

  • Clarifying why you practice and the role yoga plays in your life
  •  Learning simple approaches to practice that will infinitely expand the benefits of how you practice and teach yoga.
  •  Understanding how to apply the basic wisdom of yoga to serve you in your life right now.

Evolving Your Yoga: Backbends Master Class

Happy Tree Yoga, Montreal, QC

Sunday, March 12 10am-12:30pm

This workshop, for continuing students and teachers,  includes a reflective look at your yoga practice followed by a deep backbending practice. You’ll discover how yoga is working for you in your life right now and clarify your intention for practice. You will also experience the transformative power of heart-centered asana to weave your vision into the fabric of your being where it can begin to manifest!