Last week I was commiserating with a student who’d missed class about how difficult it is to establish a home practice. It took me about two years of consistent classes to really get into practice on my own. Establishing a daily home practice took not only dedication, but concentration. It’s much easier to make yourself go to a class than to maintain focus amidst the endless distractions of your home. But once you’ve got it going, it’s really harder just to do yoga once in awhile when you can’t make class because it’s not habit and you have so many (pitiful) reasons not to do it.
It took a little trickery to get me started. If I thought of the whole 1.5 hour series, I wouldn’t do it. I was too hungry or tired or pressed for time. So I told myself I’d do one pose (which was usually the lazyman’s legs up the wall. It’s the best pose ever. We need, most of us, to be lazier), then I could relax. After the one pose, I was relaxed, and liking it, so I did one more. This went on through the whole series, often ending in seated mediation two hours later. No way? Believe me, it will happen.
Whether you are looking to keep the hamstrings happy until you get back to class next week, or you’re trying to establish or motivate a personal practice, a few minutes of yoga a day are enough to shift things into habit. As Ethan likes to say about meditation, “You wouldn’t skip brushing your teeth for a few days, then brush for an hour on the weekend, would you?” And so it is with yoga.
So go get your mat (though you don’t really need one) and do some yoga.
- 2-minute Viparita Karani (legs up the wall). If you don’t have space, be creative. Use a bed’s headboard or bend your knees and place your calves on a chair.
- 2-minute Uttanasana (standing forward bend).
- 2-minute Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog). If you are sliding too much, try the version with your hands on the wall.
- 2-minute Sirsasana (headstand, or substitute dolphin, handstand or your favorite).
- 2-minute Sarvangasana (shoulderstand)
- 2-minute Savasana (relaxation pose).
Don’t even think of skipping savasana.