Ok, so I haven’t been great about posting these past 10 days or so, but I HAVE been doing yoga every day! What has been different is that for the past two weeks or so, I have been practicing exclusively at home, and really enjoying it! That is a really big change, considering the last time I posted about home practice I was unsure and not really all that thrilled with it.
As I mentioned, I practice in my basement at home. My basement has two sides, divided by the stairs, and only one side was available to me as the other side was kind of being used as a storage area. I recently moved back home after grad school, and at the same time my sister transitioned from living in a dorm to living at home and commuting to college, which led to an extreme overload of stuff in the house. About two weeks into the challenge, my dad decided to go through everything, and move it all into the third area of the basement, which is unfinished and exclusively for storage of extra food items, baking equipment, holiday decorations, etc. Once everything was moved, the other side of the basement had a large amount of unused floor space, which I immediately claimed. It now looks like this:
It won’t last forever, eventually my mom will come up with an idea for that area and I’ll have to move out (she gets annoyed whenever I refer to it as “my yoga space.”), but I’ve been really enjoying it for the past two weeks. The television on the other side of the basement has surround sound, so I’ve still been able to enjoy the use of the “Soundscapes” music station while practicing. I eventually will make a playlist of my own, but right now my computer only runs in safe mode so I can’t really burn CDs, and since audio is diasabled in safe mode I can’t use the computer itself.. The bolster pillows from our old futon work pretty well for support in postures such as pigeon, and there are plenty of throw pillows laying about, so I just grabbed one to use for sitting during pranayama and for my head during savasana. I also light three candles when I’m practicing, as you can see in the picture.
As far as my actual practice, I found that I stay more focused if I write down posture flows and sequences before I practice. The first time I practiced without a plan on my own, I just kind of awkwardly fumbled through it, and I struggled to stretch the practice to take 30 minutes. In three weeks I have gone from that to easily filling an hour, and sometimes having to shorten my practice because I don’t have time for everything I would like to do.
I have also been keeping track of my challenge participation using gold stars. This was suggested by my friend and yoga buddy Laura, who is, of course, an elementary school teacher. This was my planner as of a few days ago:
It might seem silly, but they really do help! Those stars made me go to my mat on Tuesday, when I was sick with a stomach bug, just because I couldn’t bear the thought of breaking my streak. It was a short practice, with more pranayama and very gentle poses, but I still made myself do it.
I’m really glad that the challenege has encouraged me to develop a home practice. It’s nice to know that the gym is there, but I will hopefully be a full time teacher next year, and most days the class schedule at the gym does not really jive with a teacher’s schedule. When I am teaching, I can hopefully keep up a regular practice at home, and my gym membership will not go to waste, as I can still use it for some yoga classes and other group exercise classes. I also like having more control over my practice…right now I’m pretty hard core 4-5 days out of the week, with lots of warrior sequences, suns with twists and side planks added, etc, interspersed with gentler practices every few days. I can tailor my practices to my needs as well – for example, I removed some twists and revolved triangles this past week because my one shoulder had been hurting for a couple days.
Also, another positive result of the challenge – I took the lesson learned about clutter during my first home practice to heart, and did a massive spring cleaning of my room the second week of April. I still have a lot of stuff, but my room isn’t nearly as cluttered as it was.
I actually have to go do my practice for today soon, so I am finished in time to make dinner. I hope everyone else is loving the challenege as much as I am!