My personal “tried and tested” tips to help you get your mat out more often …

My house has been turned upside down for months now and I’d be lying if I told you that the dust and disruption isn’t getting to me.  It has not felt like home and I’m weary of the steady stream of skilled experts demolishing tea and sugar supplies, like there’s no tomorrow, and leaving mugs everywhere – presumably a “bang on trend”, home styling craze!

The experience has transported me back to an earlier phase of my yoga life when developing a home practise seemed impossible; there’d be plenty of valid excuses, “not enough space”, “my mat is in the boot of my car”, “not enough time – must make dinner”.  These days I have a beautiful space for my practise but recently I found a ridiculous new excuse, “too dusty in here to breathe properly!”

I’ve suffered from that illness perfectionism all my life, so it is very hard for me to say this BUT, a home practise doesn’t need to be perfect. Recently I’ve been encouraging my Yoga for Athletes group to regularly practise a handful of essential poses that don’t require a big time commitment but that can make a big difference. I’ve been offering them some of the tips that have worked for me – many of these aren’t completely “orthodox yogi” and, furthermore, certainly don’t conform to my vision of a perfect home practise (whatever that is!).

Here are five things I’ve learnt over the years that have helped me to cut through procrastination and just “do it”!

  1. Don’t leave your yoga mat in your car – I’m offering this advice having failed to follow it over the past 20 years! It will sound extravagant, but the only solution for me was to buy a second yoga mat!
  2. Find a place in your home to practise and STORE your mat there, preferably already rolled out – ready to jump on. If anyone in your household complains, then hunt out some of their “crap” and demand they tidy up – I promise you this REALLY will ensure you meet no further resistance!
  3. Don’t worry about changing into yoga gear – unless you are still wearing your suit or pencil skirt straight from the office then what you’ve got on will probably work okay.
  4. Find those natural pauses in your life when you are effectively doing “not much” and turn them into yoga opportunities. You will have heard me say, “do this whilst you are ….”  For me these opportunities include waiting for the kettle to boil, cleaning my teeth and watching TV.
  5. Think small! My Mum always used to say “aim for the moon and you may catch a star”. Well this is a lovely thought but when it comes to practising yoga at home the opposite is more likely to bring a sustained commitment. Promising yourself a couple of minutes is realistic and achievable; plus it is likely to turn into five or more minutes – result!