By now, most of us have figured out that things are a little bit unbalanced. We’ve spent years rushing around, hurrying from errand to job to a mountain of housework to a family problem to friendship drama to side hustle and back. Maybe somewhere in the middle, we took a completely unsatisfying break to watch an episode of a hit television show, all the while going over our to-do list in our minds. We know we need to slow down. We know we need to take a break and get connected to the parts of life that truly matter.
The only problem is, we’ve spent so long on the hamster wheel that we don’t really know what to do with ourselves when we get off. Many of us don’t even know how to get off. The rest of us get off but quickly turn whatever relaxing activity we’ve chosen into yet another way to get ahead: we read books that will make us better at our jobs instead of the guilty-pleasure teenage-drama beach reads we’d actually enjoy. We turn our crocheting hobby into a money-making internet venture that sucks the peace right out of the activity. We turn yoga and meditation into social media fodder to help gain more followers.
The following will take a look at how you can reclaim a little bit of this lost time and space. We’re going to look at a few simple tips and tricks to help you start a yoga practice at home and cultivate some much-needed peace. Of course, every person is different and has their own schedule and life obligations. You can always take a yoga course to learn more if practicing at home leaves you wanting something more. This means some tips might suit you while others don’t. Feel free to pick and choose, keeping only the tricks that work for you and leaving the others to the side.
Don’t Post About It
We know it seems like everyone in the world insists that making public claims about something you want to do will help you follow through with it, but it’s crucial you understand that this isn’t the case for every person nor for every habit. Beyond this, even when accountability posting does work, it can sometimes suck the joy and calm out of a new habit. This yoga practice can be just for you. It doesn’t have to be for anyone else’s eyes or ears. You don’t even have to tell your friends about it. It can be a complete secret, and, honestly, that might make it even more fun.
Get The Basic Equipment
Despite what advertisements tell you, you don’t need much to do yoga. All you need is some comfy clothes that aren’t going to get in the way and a mat. Even the most premium mat designs aren’t too expensive. Save all the fancy doodad purchases until you’ve been practicing for long enough to understand why you need them.
Don’t Set A Time Limit
While it can be tempting to write: Do one hour of yoga or do half an hour of yoga on your checklist, the very idea of having a time quota that needs to be met can result in a less peaceful experience. If you must put something on your to-do list, put it down: Yoga. One word. You can do a single pose, and that counts. You’re practicing yoga. You’re a yogi. One pose held for eight deep breaths. That’s all it takes. Leave the obsessive tracking and measuring for the other parts of your life.
The Breath Is Crucial
From the outside, it might seem like the most important part of yoga is the poses, but any experienced yogi will tell you that your position is only a fraction of the magic. The true beauty of yoga comes from the breath. You want to be breathing deep into your belly from your nose unless instructed otherwise for a particular pose—breathing through your nose results in 30% more oxygen getting to the brain than breathing through your mouth. This has intense impacts on your focus, mental clarity, creativity, memory, and feeling of calm.
If you can’t breathe through your nose, and you don’t have a cold or something temporary like that, this is a sign that something is wrong. It is your body telling you that something needs to change. You might be allergic to something in your diet or home, or the air quality might be extremely poor where you are (houseplants, charcoal air cleaning tablets, and air filters can both be found pretty cheap if that’s the case). Congestion should never be ignored.
The restorative impact of yoga and the transcendental feelings of soothing interconnectedness is the result of the breathwork. Continually examine your breathing as your practice.
Don’t Practice In Front Of A Mirror Or Screen
Yes, okay, you might need your phone nearby to learn the moves, that’s fine. We mean more, don’t spread out in front of the television screen where you can see your reflection. Likewise, don’t practice yoga in front of a mirror. It’s not about how you look; it’s about how you feel, and craning your neck to the side to judge your posture is almost always resulting in improper form.
Don’t Skip Over The Chanting
This is another part of yoga that has slid off into the sidelines but is absolutely critical. The hums and chats included in true yoga classes are designed to vibrate certain parts of your body using your voice. This results in huge releases of tension and built-up emotion.
Allow Yourself To Get Emotional
Speaking of feelings, yoga can bring them to the forefront. It is well known that people store different types of hurt and tension throughout their bodies. If there is a certain pose that brings on a wave of emotion within you, this is a good sign. Even if it’s uncomfortable at the moment, this means that you’re releasing something you’ve held onto, maybe for years. This means you’re healing.
The above tips should help you cultivate a yoga practice. You might have noticed that they don’t seem like the typical pieces of advice regarding starting new habits that the internet is full of. That’s because yoga isn’t just another habit to check off your already too long to-do list. Yoga is designed to ground you, help you release tension, and connect you with the present moment.