Updated: Jan 16
One of my favorite things about following a full guided yoga, breathing and meditation class—whether it's online or at a studio—is the way it makes me feel. I'm able (most of the time) to focus on my breath and sensations in the body as I move through a series of yoga postures. At the end of class I feel calm, spacious and satisfied.
A home yoga practice can feel a bit different. Especially if you're relatively new to guiding yourself in your yoga practice. You might find doubt creeping in about what to practice and for how long. And then before you know it you've skipped your idea of home practice all together!
I've faced the same challenges in the past too. And found one of the most helpful tips was to set up a flexible framework for my home yoga practice.
Having a framework or template for your home practice allows you to spend your time on focusing and deepening your yoga, breathing and mindfulness practices.
I'm excited to share with you some home yoga practice tips for incorporating yoga, breathing and meditation techniques into a shorter home yoga routine.
Read on to find my practice framework of three steps you can follow to develop and grow your home yoga practice. If you're looking for longer yoga posture sequences and more tips see my other blog on how to practice yoga at home.
Why practice yoga, breathing and meditation together
Traditionally physical yoga postures, breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation have been taught together as complimentary practices the support and enhance each other. Each practice forming part of the eight limbs of yoga.
Regularly practicing yoga postures will help us become more flexible and stronger to be able to sit more comfortably. Something that will help our breathe feel deeper and mind quieter when sitting to do breathing exercises, pranayama and meditation.
At the same time during our physical yoga practice we recognize the importance of breathing in yoga and do our best to keep our mind focused on watching a steady flowing breath.
Breathing and Pranayama
Breathing techniques and pranayama allow us to work directly on our breath control and capacity. We are able to over time increase our awareness and physical capacity to breathe.
This ability to breathe freely something helpful to cultivate in our physical yoga practice. As well as improve our ability to concentrate and focus the mind on our breath—a tool we can tap into during our meditation practice.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness will help us learn how to observe our wandering mind and allow things to be as they are.
We can work directly on focusing on one point. Something we can learn to integrate into our breathing, pranayama and yoga practice.
Three steps for starting a yoga, breathing and meditation practice at home
(1) Keep it simple
If you’re new to practicing yoga at home on your own my first tip is to keep it simple!
One of the biggest barriers I used to face when starting my own home yoga practice was deciding what to practice. I found all the different options so overwhelming that it stopped me for a long time from doing any yoga at home.
Therefore the best home yoga routine for beginners is one that is simple to remember and do on your own.
One example of a simple sequence could be this 30 minute guided yoga, breathing and meditation practice that includes 10 mins sun salutations, 10 mins ujjayi breath, and 10 mins body scan meditation.
(2) Repeat for a while the same practice
Take your time to get familiar with a simple sequence and establish a consistent practice. Depending on your individual goals you could try establishing a yoga practice at home daily or 2-3 times a week.
I find it really valuable to stay with the same practice for some time. Allow yourself to get really familiar with the techniques. See if you can find a routine to practice at regular times so that it becomes part of your daily routine.
Notice how the same practice can feel different on different days. Observe what happens when you’re able to do your yoga, breathing and meditation without having to think too much about the specific techniques.
It’s completely up to you how long you want to keep doing the same practice. You might start with trying for a week, then a month and perhaps 6 months. However long it takes for you to really get familiar and observe the effects of the practice.
(3) Experiment with different yoga, breathing and pranayama sequences
Once you’ve established a regular practice and been practicing a yoga, breathing and meditation sequence for some time you could change the yoga, breathing and meditation practices.
There are many things you could experiment with. From changing the order you do your yoga, breathing and meditation; to the amount of time you’re practicing; to the practices themselves.
Changing the order of your practice
In terms of the order you practice yoga, pranayama and meditation there are different advantages on starting with yoga, breathing or meditation depending on what you want to focus on.
Starting with the yoga postures can be helpful if you feel sleepy or stiff to help open and wake up the body. While you might find beginning with breathing it can help you focus better on your breath during the rest of your practice. And starting with meditation can help you feel more embodied and present in your practice.
Changing the length of your practice
When looking at the length of practice my main recommendation is to find a length of practice that feels manageable to maintain regularly. Even if this is just 10 mins three days a week, you can get more benefits from short regular practices than one off longer practice.
Over time you can always start to gradually increase the length and frequency of your practice—if that feels possible with all the other responsibilities you have.
You could also experiment with the length you spend on your physical yoga, breathing and meditation.
Below are some suggestions on ways you could split your time over a 30 minute practice. You’ll see there are no hard rules and so feel free to experiment with different lengths and orders to find a sequence that works for you.
5 mins breathing, 20 mins yoga, 5 mins meditation
5 mins meditation, 5 mins breathing, 20 mins yoga
10 mins yoga, 10 mins breathing, 10 mins meditation
Changing what you practice
After some time of getting familiar with specific techniques and practices it can be interesting to try something different.
For example, after you've spent some time practicing sun salutations why not try do some standing or seated poses. You can find inspiration of short yoga sequences in my seven days of yoga challenge.
Depending on your personality you might find yourself either always wanting to do something different or always wanting to do the same thing.
See if you can find the balance here of practicing the same thing for a while until you get familiar with it before moving on to the next thing.
And finally have fun with your yoga, breathing and meditation techniques!
Good luck and happy practicing!
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