Today is World Mental Health Day and I’m sure I don’t need to go on about how important yoga can be to creating a balanced lifestyle with a healthy mind and body. Yoga has been instrumental in helping me manage my own mental wellbeing journey and it’s largely down to what I do at home.
The nights are drawing in as energy levels are drawing down. When we get home from a long day at work, it can be very tempting to cancel that yoga class we had booked and snuggle down in front of the tv instead. But don’t! This is exactly the moments when we need to get on our mat and move – this is the real yoga.
Whether you decide to head to that class or skip it, there are a multitude of benefits to creating a home yoga routine. It can give you a bit of structure and support as we transition through the seasons. Bookending your day with some short yoga sessions can be an ideal way to begin. It doesn’t need to be hours on the mat, start with 5-minutes and see where you end up. Here are a few ideas for getting started with an At Home Yoga Routine.
Starters – before we begin
- Find a space – it doesn’t need to be an empty room, just enough space to roll out your mat. For years I practised in a space that was literally the size of my mat, one side of the mat touched a wardrobe, and the other side touched the bed!
- Plan when you will get on your mat. Maybe it’s easier first thing in the morning before everyone has got up, or last thing at night before you jump into bed. Even if you can only spare 5-minutes, this is better than nothing. Make a plan and stick to it – this is something positive to do for you (not something extra to add on in your day!)
Main Course – getting going
Check out my post from last week all about 3-part breath, this is a great place to start your home yoga practise session. Even just focusing on the breath, intentionally, is a great way to get started.
Set an intention for your practise. This might be, ‘I am focused on my own wellbeing’ or ‘I am calm.’ Having an intention gives you focus to come back to during the practise and can add an extra layer of benefits as the intention is where your attention will flow.
Seated warm up
There are no rules here, just get moving. Begin seated, standing, lying down or on all 4s – whatever feels right for you. Choose a position and then move, at this point it doesn’t have to be specific yoga poses, just move into whatever feels best. Any spinal moves are guaranteed to feel good at any time of the day – so think twists, forward folds, side bends and even gentle backbends. Feeling stuck – check out this short video (below) for some inspiration – and feel free to make this your own by adding/removing any poses that don’t work for you!
Dessert – the best bit!
Relaxation is a MUST. Even if it’s only for 1-minute, lie down on your mat (or take whichever position feels best for you) and allow yourself to settle. Savasana is a resting position, and it is well worth making the effort for even a short relaxation at the end of your practise.
If you have time, this is the space to add in a short meditation. You will find plenty of apps, videos and audios online to help you get started here. But I like to keep it simple, just sit in a comfortable position with the back straight, and count the breaths. Inhale 1, Exhale 1. Inhale 2, Exhale 2 – all the way up to 7.
This might seem like a lot, but it doesn’t need to be – your life, your yoga. Take what works for you from my suggestions above and give it a go, maybe you’ll find something that will resonate with you and provide you with support to manage your own mental wellbeing.