So you’re ready for some yoga but your studio is closed? Don’t despair. Take matters into your own hands by becoming your own yoga teacher. Don’t sweat it if you forget your training or your chants! Many times, practicing solo allows you to focus entirely on the intrinsic. Here are seven tips for getting started by yourself.
Set Your Goal
When you plan your own yoga class, you get to decide on every factor, like the type of yoga you’re going to practice and the pace and energy of the class. Take a moment to assess your current state: do you crave a fiery power practice, or are you feeling worn-down in a way that only a restorative class can soothe?
Of course, you can create a dynamic class for yourself, mixing and matching from different classes you’ve taken in the past to create a tailor-made sequence that hits all the right spots.
Plan It Out
Physically write out a list of poses to guide you through your self-taught class. Remember, you’re in control, so you get to decide how you want to plan out the class. Maybe there’s a peak pose you’d like to work towards, so build up to it through other poses that will prepare your mind and body for the challenge. Maybe you want to map out sequences that will work on the entire body, head-to-toe, or maybe you’re feeling tight in your lower back and want to target that region for the entire practice. And if worst comes to worst and you still need an instructor’s guidance, check out YouTube for loads of free one on one tutorials.
Focus on the Tried and True
You’ll generally want to choose poses that are familiar to you. You’ll be familiar with proper alignment for those poses, as well as safe ways to enter and exit the pose. Trying a new pose for the first time solo can set you up for injury: you’re better off relying on a teacher’s cues the first few times and then practicing at home once comfortable.
…But Challenge Yourself
When you set the sequence, it can be tempting to gloss over poses or areas that aren’t your favorite. Resist the desire to skip the poses that you find challenging: the discomfort from these poses can provide a great opportunity for growth.
Set the Stage
You might not have wall-to-wall mirrors or bamboo floors at home, but you’ll still want your home “studio” to be conducive to a productive practice. Push the furniture aside to give yourself the space you need to lay down your mat. Eliminate distractions like phones, TVs and computers. Adjust the lighting so that it’s just right.
Go With Your FlowAs you make your way through the practice, take the time to really listen to your body. Notice what feels right, what feels difficult, and what thoughts come up throughout your practice. If you feel like you need to hold a pose longer than you planned, hold it—there’s nothing holding you back! Maybe you want to repeat the same pose six times—do it! Conversely, if something just isn’t clicking with you, you can choose to skip past it. Remember: you’re in charge!
Savor the Experience
There’s an invigorating energy that’s created in a group class. There’s also a liberating feeling to following a practice set by a teacher, and simply following their lead. Equally important, however, are the unique experiences that arise from a self-taught class. Your mind will be engaged in a different way, as you’re required to really be present to follow your set sequences. You’ll have no choice but to be tuned into yourself and only yourself—there’s no one else to compare yourself to.
Take note of—and indulge in—whatever comes up. There’s a silver lining to whatever came up that prevented you from hitting the yoga studio: the discovery of home practice. You might find that you really enjoy the solitude. If that’s the case, why not incorporate it into your regular yoga routine?