I've got a confession. Sometimes I have grandiose ideas of what I can accomplish in a day. I start by making lists. Then somehow, the list gets longer and longer throughout the day and I get completely side tracked so in the end, nothing gets crossed off. At the top of my list is a 7:15pm yoga class. I am either a) still working or b) so exhausted that I just want to go home, make dinner like a (kinda) normal person and watch some good old Netflix.
Let's be honest. I love my regular yoga classes. But some days, getting to that hour of calm can be one of the most stressful moments of the day. I'm racing against the clock to get there on time with a busy mind that hardly feels yogic. My solution? Another grandiose scheme. But one that actually works: a home-based practice for moments. I carved out some space in the spare bedroom where my mat can lay flat, added some candles and brought in my journal in case anything came up during the practice. I hid some speakers in the corner so I can have music, but no computer screen distracting me out of the corner of my eye with all those emails I need to answer. Whether it's 5 minutes of meditation and deep breathing or a full hour sequence, I am able to find a calm within the hectic schedule. My days become more manageable. I sleep better through the night. I am more considerate about what I put in my body. I drink more water. My thoughts focus more on the positive vibes I quietly exude.
We've asked one of our Ambassadors for some tips on creating a healthy, home practice so that you can try it too. We met the lovely Tahnee Fournier in Saskatoon at a show where she was selling her line of handmade malas (www.tahneefournier.com).
1. Organize the space around your mat.
If you are using the kitchen like myself (only non-carpeted spot in the house) this requires sweeping otherwise the cheerios from breakfast stare at me relentlessly in down dog. Take five minutes before the practice to make it tidy and think how proud your Mother will be. If you don’t, those damn cheerios give a good stink eye, trust me I know. If it floats your boat, use aromatherapy. Light incense, whatever you need to set the mood for your practice. A few minutes of cleaning and setting the mood makes a world of difference.
2.Create a little alter (puja) where you can place meaningful objects on it.
My alters align with the currently season and always have a deity (God or Goddess) with qualities I want to work on within myself. Nataraja, the dancing Shiva and Lakshmi have two permanent positions while the rest of the Hindu pantheon such Ganesha, Kali, Hanuman and Saraswati and others are on rotation. Other Goddess such as Brigit and people like Mary Magdalene also make appearances. And of course, crystals. Who can resist? They sparkle, are pretty, and make me feel good. I’m found of black moonstone, clear quartz and amethyst. It’s another excuse to go shopping and see what crystal is calling your name. And they do, call your name. I dare you to walk into a crystal shop and walk out empty handed. It. Does. Not. Happen. Included on my alter is a plant to represent growth, a candle to represent light and pictures of loved ones. Whatever you love, get it on the alter and let it feed your yoga practice space.
3. Create a time and date.
Whether it’s 5mins or 60mins, set that timer and get to that mat. Create the discipline in your body by doing it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and same with the home practice. If you get to the mat 1x a week, that’s brilliant. Start there and build it up. Can only do 5 minutes? At least that’s something. We need to honour the small steps we make and 5mins of a home practice is better then zero minutes of a home practice.
4. Make it fun, play music.
You aren’t any less spiritual because you want to rock out on that mat. I’m a big fan of Marques Wyatt from Deep-La and Tasha Blank from New York and Smalltown DJ’s from Calgary. All available on Soundcloud. When I’m not feeling inspired, I have a little movement dance party and before I know it, I’m yoga-ing my way through the practice.
5. Intention. Ah yes, the intention.
Make it real, make it honest. For example, this week it’s about the breath (when isn’t it?) Allowing the breath to guide my body while I navigate the warrior series including the dreaded virabhadrasana 3 (airplane pose), one of my least favourites. One I definitely prefer to practice at home when no one can see me swear under my breath (while breathing) as I shake like a sewing needle. Keep the yoga simple and don’t overwhelm yourself. Remember this is about building a home practice up, not berating yourself for noting knowing how to get into Scorpian.
Here is Tahnee's full post on Five Tips for a Successful Home Practice on her blog.
Tahnee Fournier is an international and ERYT-500 Urban Priestess, Travelling Gypsy, Yoga Teacher Trainer, and most importantly, Mom. Tahnee is known for her inspirational and uplifting yoga classes, workshops, and trainings that are infused with ancient yogic philosophy and optimal alignment for modern day living, on and off the mat. She is currently the director of Bliss Living and Yoga Teacher Training in Grand Cayman, has videos with YOGO.TV and designs handmade malas. She can be found drinking wine on Wednesdays and eating chocolate in bed on Sundays.