More Success with At-Home Yoga
I’ve been on a 10-year recovery journey from moderate to severe brain injury, PTSD, and an upper cervical neck injury. Along the way, yoga and meditation have been super important in my recovery, in bringing all of the pieces of my life, mind-body-spirit and physical body back together again into a whole functioning human.
Together, they’ve played an integral part in helping me rebuild my identity and a new life: there was ‘before my trauma’ and there was ‘after my trauma’, and everything looks different after my trauma. Yoga and meditation were really crucial in helping me with my truth: feeling into my truth, learning how to use my truth in my recovery and source that new life. I had to learn what felt right for me now because it wasn’t the same as what felt right before.
I’m on a mission to spread the healing powers of yoga and meditation, to support other people who are processing trauma who are navigating illness, injury or disability, and also people who are stressed, burnt out, and looking for some reprieve from the really hectic lives that we lead. Building your at home yoga practice can be successful. It can empower you and it can lead to great results.
F.A.V.E. is our four part framework for building your own at home yoga practice and finding success with it as part of your daily or weekly routine.
The first letter starts with F, and that is for Fun.
Infusing your at home yoga practice with a sense of fun is really important because it will help you mentally and emotionally have a really positive attitude towards your practice and help you look forward to it. There are many different ways you can bring fun into your practice, number one is with variety. This might mean that sometimes you practice by yourself, sometimes you practice with the kids or even bringing your dog into your practice. You might take a class online, practice on your own, or invite a friend to join you. Changing up how you practice will help you stick to it because you’ll associate it with that sense of fun and variety.
The second way to infuse fun is to have a sense of playfulness with your body and your practice. Explore how your body is the same and different from day to day, what you can or can’t do, what want you do or don’t want to do with your body. Consider what edge you want play with, what rest you need, where you want to push and where you want to pull back.
Step two in our framework is Attune.
Attune means to become acclimatized or to become comfortable with. When it comes to your at home yoga practice, you’ll want to attune to your environment. You don’t want to set up your mat where you’ll constantly be bumping into shelves, knocking things over or feeling squeezed into a tight space, that won’t lead to success. Instead, you’ll want to pick a space that makes sense for your practice, where you can stretch out your arms and your legs, and for you to be comfortable moving on your mat and the space around it. Tuning into your environment can make your practice easier so that you have less to think about, if you already know you have two spots in your home that makes sense for you to do yoga, you’re going to automatically go to those two spots without having to think about where to set yourself up.
Next is V which stands for Visuals.
Step three is really about turning a yoga practice into a habit because once we turn things into habits, they take less brain power and become more automatic which means we’re more likely to do them and follow through with the things we want to accomplish.
There’s an extensive body of research that says one of the most powerful things you can do to set yourself up for success in your habit building is to have visuals in your environment. An example would be having your vitamins by the coffee maker so that each morning when you go to turn on it on, something you know you’re going to do each day, you’ll see the vitamins and automatically take them. This is called habit stacking. You stack the new habit you’re trying to build onto something that is already a habitual part of your day.
Another example might be if you want go to the gym first thing in the morning, you could put your shoes right beside the bed. Seeing them as you wake up will be the reminder that you’re going to the gym, so you can grab the shoes and go.
In terms of yoga, that might mean rolling up your mat and having it in the corner where you know you’re going to practice or having your yoga strap hanging on the bathroom hanger where you will see it.
The last letter in our framework stands for Ease.
Invite in a sense of ease to all parts of your yoga practice: ease with what your body is doing and how your body is responding on any given day. Releasing judgment, not forcing or pushing yourself somewhere your body really doesn’t want to go and having acceptance for where you are today, honouring what your body is really craving.
Have a sense of ease or flexibility about your practice. Yes, you want to know where you are going set it up, to have a regular habit for when you practice and use the visual cues but you don’t want to become completely rigid with it.
Invite in a sense of ease and softness so that your practice holds that loving, supportive and positive space for you.
Flexibility is also important here because, let’s be honest, with practicing at home we don’t always know what will happen. Whether that’s kids coming in and out, your dog barking, or dishes clanging. it helps to release expectation on how it needs to look and to know everything is perfect just as it is.
We can allow the sounds in the background, we can allow distractions around us to come in and out of our awareness, we can pause and come back onto the mat. That sense of ease relates to having fun and creating a light and positive experience we want to come back to over and over again.
We know it can feel a little harder to set up an at home yoga practice but with these ideas in mind we believe you can have success and create a supportive, loving relationship with your mat at home.
Do you have any tips for building new habits or creating a beautiful yoga space in your home? Let us know in the comments!