Sarah Ezrin in Yoga Pose for Home Yoga Practice

Sarah Ezrin practicing yoga at home. Photo by Emilie Bers.

Creating a supportive home yoga practice is essential

For many of us, our home yoga practice is not just how we keep our bodies healthy or minds clear, it is our safe haven. It is where we retreat into when we need to get away from the chaos of outside.

Recently, the stressors of the world have become so profound, they are permeating every area of our life. Making it much harder to find places to take refuge or find community. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, yoga studios have shut down. Beaches and public parks are closed.

Even our homes are no longer our sanctuaries, as they now must hold all the parts of our self that we could once leave at the door. Acting as our places of business, our children’s schools, our gym and yoga shala.

Sarah Ezrin in Yoga Pose

Sarah Ezrin practicing yoga at home. Photo by Emilie Bers.

How can you get away from it all when there is no where to physically go?

These are the times when we learn that the tranquility we seek actually comes from within. And, believe it or not, practicing yoga at home can be one of the best places to discover this.

When we do yoga at a studio, external distractions have been removed for us. Cell phones are prohibited. Talking is discouraged. The walls are often simple and plain. The doors shut, the lights are dimmed, and we are transported from our worries and into our practice. All of these elements make it easier to focus on the present, but the sterile studio environment is a far cry from real life.

Outside of the shala we are juggling stress, responsibility, distractions, and, as much as we hate to admit it, a complete lack of control. This is why doing yoga at home can be the best training for managing stress and staying focused.

At home, you are in the epicenter of chaos. Dogs are barking, babies are crying, bosses are emailing, children are asking questions, neighbors are being neighbors. Distractions abound in the forms of television, chocolate, and social media. Your to-do list is not just in your head; it is the laundry and dirty dishes right in front of you.

Not only is it possible to find peace in the middle of all that, this is the true work of the practice! Remaining inwardly focused, regardless of outside circumstances.

Here are some simple things you can do during your home asana practice to support shifting your attention from the outward toward the inward, particularly during times of high stress.

Sarah Ezrin with dog Home Yoga Practice

Sarah Ezrin practicing yoga at home. Block by Manduka. Photo by Emilie Bers.

5 Practices to Improve your Home Yoga Practice

1. Quality over quantity.

Fifteen minutes of a deeply focused practice is worth way more than an hour where you are not mentally present. Instead of defining a “full” practice as getting every pose in or moving for a certain length of time, think of a it as one where you are FULL of presence.

2. Designate a meeting time.

Set a standing daily meeting with yourself by blocking off your calendar. This will help create a boundary with work and prevent others from interrupting you. You are the most important person you can meet with. This meeting is mandatory.

3. Have a sense of humor.

You are going to get kicked offline mid-class. Your cat will sit on your mat just as you are jumping back to chaturanga. You will forget the sequence halfway through. Go with it! Enjoy simply being on your mat and see where your body takes you. Recognize that you are doing your best and laugh your way through it.

4. Use headphones or ear plugs.

Our brains process sound before any other sense. This means that what we hear is a direct line to our present moment. No wonder the neighbors drum solo is making your savasana challenging! Pull your attention inward by shutting off outside noise.

5. Incorporate your home.

Speaking of being interrupted, if your pets, children, or significant others are vying for your attention during your practice time, rather than trying to ignore them, include them! If you are a plant parent, surround your mat with your plant babies, to help nourish your breath as you move. Ask your spouse for an adjustment. Big dogs can be great props. Dogs or cats can help you feel as though you have a sangha, or community, practicing wih you.

We have a lot of stressors to manage these days as humans. Fortunately, we do not need the perfect mat or the quietest yoga studio to escape those stresses. We can find peace anywhere, anytime, because peace really comes from within. It is just a pause and a breath away.