Seven Tips for Practicing Yoga by Yourself

Woman doing yoga

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.

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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.

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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?