The other night after teaching a yoga fusion class, I was having a brief discussion with a fellow teacher about my personal practice. Before getting pregnant with my daughter, who is now 1, I was practicing practically everyday at my beloved hot studio here in town. I scheduled everything around my yoga classes and I was very fortunate that I was in a position to have that flexibility with my time. Then right in the height of it all, BOOM! Pregnant. And I giggle, because we were trying, so I knew the possibility was always on the horizon, but it is still quite surprising how much your world flips upside-down when you find out you're pregnant.
I decided to suspend my hot practice at the strong urging of my midwife, as high internal temperatures can cause great damage to the baby. And even though I know plenty of fabulous yogini mamas who continued their hot practice whilst pregnant, I did what I felt was right for me and stopped attending hot classes. From there, I did manage to attend regular classes at the gym where I taught cycling, but it was nowhere near the amount of my time at the hot studio prior to pregnancy.
Flash forward to being a mommy for a year. Over the past year, I have increased my training, my class numbers, and places of employment. I've launched my personal business, started writing consistently on the blog, an oh, have continued to be a stay-at-home mom. The personal practice? The struggle is real.
I attend classes as MUCH as I can, but the number is pitiful to my pre-baby days. It is very hard to balance time away from the family to teach and then adding on more time to attend yoga class or socialize with friends? Slim chance. I do practice at home when I truly feel like I can without a distraction, which is basically never, and as much as I appreciate yoga videos, they just don't quite do it for me.
So back to the conversation with my colleague--even though she isn't a mom, she too as an instructor finds it difficult to get in her personal practice. And we both acknowledged the great importance of a home practice, but both agreed: we love the class setting so much better, which of course makes getting the practice in at all way more difficult.
I started thinking more about more about this these past several days, and I thought I would look into other instructors and how they manage their home practice. Well, the last article I read was harsh. Very harsh. Basically slamming any/all yoga instructors who don't have a regular home practice and telling practitioners to literally find another studio if their instructor doesn't have a regular home practice. Despite their talent as a teacher and guide. Ouch. That seems rather judgmental and un-yogi to me. I'm not saying that a home practice isn't important and that we all shouldn't strive to have one, but to bring in this huge cloud of negativity over other instructors that you know nothing about? Then top it off with a sales pitch for a 40 day home practice program? That way of thinking is not for me.
But having said that, I do, I really do want to get into my home practice. So I started thinking about what it is about the studio setting that I love so much. The people, duh. The shared energy, the ability to just listen and flow so I'm out of my head, the minimal distraction of daily life, the instructor adjustments, the coziness and sacredness of the setting... The list goes on. I absolutely love going to my yoga classes. So how do I get that feeling from a home practice?
Well I'm never going to quit going to a studio, but I am determined to get my home practice as regular as possible. SO! I am going to take what I can from my studio experience and bring it to my doorstep. I can't bring the people, but what I can do, is create my sacred space with as little distraction as possible.
Luckily summer is around the corner, because there is no way I can use a room inside my house right now. This is our living room... and that's the only room with as much floor space, otherwise I have to put my mat in the kitchen. No thanks.
So the back patio it is! We've spent a lot of time and $$ on making our outdoor space fun and inviting, so why not customize it even more for my yoga practice? There is a cement pad under our pergola that provides a solid foundation for my mat and shade from the sun, so all I have to do is make my surroundings pleasing and sacred.
First thing: stain the pergola. It needs to be done anyway, but I love the color of the stain and seems more destination-y. That part of the project started 2 nights ago, here's the progress and the battle "wounds". (stain is VERY hard to get off your skin!!!)
Second thing: what do I want in my drishti (gazing point)? Well I can't look to the south or I'm staring at my fence and the busy road just beyond it. If I look to the west I stare at our table and chairs, if I look to the east I see my house siding. So north it is. What do I want to see to the north? Certainly not grass with a bunch of empty mud patches (which we are working on)... not the shed for heaven's sake. Maybe some tall plants in pretty planters? Maybe some soft flowy fabric? Have to figure out what I can do with the edges of the pergola to create that studio aesthetic. (Got an idea? Comment below!!!)
Lastly: Other finishing touches-- I've got an outdoor bluetooth speaker for music, I have citronella candles for mood/mosquitoes, so that's taken care of. What I do need is a special place outside where all of my yoga things are accessible. Convenience and ease of use are key. Make it a place to just walk to and it's all there waiting for me. So, I'll have to find a good looking storage thing to hold my mat/props (all for my outdoor practice exclusively!) and cleaning wipes. That might be a bit of a challenge, but not impossible!
I'm super excited for this space to come together and some juicy flow in the sunrise and sunset. I also plan to use the whole cement pad area as a space for "yoga social hour" that I intend to start hosting in the near future. A place where about 10-12 people can come, take a class from me, and socialize afterwards with their friends over libations and snacks. So much on the horizon!
Do you have a home practice? How do you make it sacred for yourself, what's your ritual?
If you struggle to find a home practice around your teaching schedule, take a couple of easy first steps by finding your space. Make it yours, make it all about your yoga. Take everything you love from your studio or your classes and bring as much of it as you can to your home. And DO NOT beat yourself up or think you're a "bad yogi" for not having a regular home practice. We are all doing the best we can and life throws things at us all the time in which we have to compromise tasks and wishes. It's how we handle these things and the outlook that we hold that develop the internal yogi.
Let's talk about this further, I would love to see your home practice and what it took to get there. Tag me on IG, @pedalsandposes and stay on the lookout for the final product in my back yard!