Flying Solo In Your Yoga Practice
You can have a successful yoga practice at home, by yourself, and never go to a yoga class. Find a place that you have a little space to move around. A space that is large enough for you to lay down lengthwise and sideways is perfect. You can work with larger or smaller spaces as well. Music can help create the mood for your practice, but it isn’t required. Use something that adds benefit for you, and don’t be boxed in by what is traditional. A yoga mat isn’t required, but sometimes it is nice for comfort with hardwood floors. A large bath or beach towel can be used in place of a mat. Typically you remove shoes and socks for your yoga practice.
In a Hatha or Vinyasa yoga practice, breathing is the most important part of the equation. Slowly inhale for three seconds and slowly exhale for four seconds. Preferably this is done in and out of the nose. You can also lengthen the seconds you are inhaling and exhaling as you are more comfortable with it.
Decide what you want to get out of your practice. Do you want flexibility, strength, relaxation, or a combination? Sun Salutations (a sequence of postures) are something I recommend to do especially if you are limited in time, but are trying to work and stretch the whole body. There are a few variations in the postures for Sun Salutations, but here is a good chart you can use. I make a few additions in my practice, but the point is to make it your practice. There are some variations to the poses that can add complexity or others help you start and work up to other versions. If you would like variations to poses, please feel free to contact me. Try to match the breath to the movement (inhale or exhale as you are moving from one pose to another), and it will help you get in a rhythm for your yoga practice.
Breathe and enjoy the movement. When you are warming up or doing flowing sequences the breath should match the movement. When you are holding in a pose it can be helpful to hold for it for five slow breaths. There is no set time limit to a practice. Sometimes I only have ten minutes, but that ten minutes can be a phenomenal yoga practice for me.
Yoga DVDs or on-line classes are also a great option for a solo practice. There are a lot of choices out there, and the important part is finding what fits best for you. Every instructor is different, so don’t lose interest in yoga practice if you haven’t tried a few different instructors. Sometimes you can try different DVDs before you buy them, and a lot of on-line sites let you have a trial period. Find your best fit.
Working with a private yoga instructor for a few sessions can be a great option as they can help with some alignment corrections to reduce the possibility for injury, and they can help you see how the flow of the yoga practice is set up. I encourage my clients to continue their practice at home, and talk about some of the things that are easier to incorporate on their own.
Flying solo with your yoga practice is easier than you think. As you are practicing try to let go of the judgment and enjoy the breath and movement. You can do it!