As we continue to shelter-in-place and do all that we can to keep ourselves and others safe, you may be missing your Yoga practice and your Yoga community. You may have tried a few on-line classes, and maybe you have made them part of your new “normal”. With Yoga available at home with streaming and on-demand classes, you might be finding that you are practicing more than you did before. In these beyond-challenging times, your Yoga and other mindful practices can help you find your center, calm your mind and your nervous system, give you a new perspective, and help build the strength and flexibility you need to navigate these uncertain times.
Maybe you have figured out the secrets of Zoom, and maybe not. You might easily find peace and quiet in your home, and well, maybe not. Here are a few ideas to help you get the most out of your Yoga at home, and maybe even keep your dog from licking your face during svasana.
1. Put practice on your schedule.
This is just as important for a home practice as it is for a studio practice. And now, more than ever, when every day seems like Blursday and at the end of the day you wonder where the day went. Don’t add pressure to do a 75-minute class if you don’t have the time. Even 15 or 30 minutes can be a great re-set. If you feel guilty about talking time for yourself, remember that a mindful practice and your good health will help those around you too.
2. Register and sign in early.
This is for streaming classes, which are great real-time community experiences. The teacher and the class are there “with” you and you can sense the energy of the group. That’s awesome and can lift you up if you are lonely. Sometimes a class will have a registration or confirmation or another step or two you have to take before you join. If you wait until the last minute, and have any technical issues to work out, you may actually cause yourself (and sometime the teacher) more stress! So be sure to check your links, your internet connections, and sound. That takes a few minutes; give yourself that time. I used to joke that the closer you live to the studio, the more likely it is that you will be late for class! I am really seeing that play out when we have zero commute time. So, settle in a few minutes before class time to avoid an unhappy surprise or a missed class.
3. Create a space for your practice.
You don’t need much, really, just the space for your mat and enough room to stretch your arms out. Make your set up part of your Yoga ritual (another reason to get on your mat well before the start of class!). Clear furniture or clutter out of your way, light a candle or use an essential oil spray. Gather what you will need for practice and clear away distractions. Let your space reflect your personality, or perhaps your mood. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just clean and clear. If there is a door you can close, even better. If not, be sure to tell anyone else who lives with you to support your practice by minimizing noise and interruption. Pets can be challenging, and you know your pets better than I do, so work together on a solution. I set up a pillow for my dog, Lucy, just outside of my practice room and she knows it’s time to relax. Although if I forget to close the door all the way, I do sometimes get a big wet kiss in svasana; she senses when class is coming to a close!
4. Get creative with props.
If you can, have an actual Yoga mat-that’s the safest surface to practice on. You will want to gather up some blankets or towels to use for padding, or warmth in deep relaxation. Depending on the type of class you may need blocks or Yoga straps. If you don’t have them, books will do for blocks and a robe tie, belt or towel can usually do the job of a Yoga strap. For more restorative classes, grab your favorite pillows too. And keep an eye pillow or small towel ready to cover your eyes for a deeply relaxing svasana.
5. Do an A-V check.
You don’t need fancy equipment to stream a class, just be sure to check that you can see and hear the teacher when the class begins. This may be a simple as positioning your mat perpendicular to the screen, and the volume is appropriate. It can be frustrating if you turn away from the screen and can’t see what is happening—don’t hesitate to change your orientation if that helps. And if you do have access to a larger screen and can connect your phone or laptop, that will really give you the feeling of almost being there. As far as what you see on the screen, take a quick Zoom tutorial to check out how to see the teacher and not yourself or others while practicing—a few minutes to learn should get you all set!
My practice has been a touchstone for me for many years, and these days, I rely on it more than ever. Staying safe at home doesn’t mean you have to give up your practice and your practice community. Support your favorite teachers and studios, create connection with yourself and others, and strengthen your mind and body. From anywhere!