How to Establish a Home Yoga Practice

yoga1 - Version 2What is a home yoga practice? Basically, it is committing to practicing yoga outside of the studio, i.e. on your own. One of the ‘hazards’ of being a yoga instructor is that I make it to class on my own way less than I did before simply out of lack of time. It is tough! Getting my butt to class has been a personal struggle since my teaching journey began, however it is imperative for my craft that I continue in progressing my own skills. Hence, the necessity of a home practice. Likewise, even if you are not an instructor and instead are a regular at the local yoga studio, establishing a routine at home will develop your practice faster and fulfill you on a deeper level than without one.

 One of the greatest complications in developing a home practice is the problem of distractions. I have three boys aged 7, 10 and almost 12, and believe me when I say that my house is crowded, chaotic, rambunctious, disruptive, frenzied and so un-like a yoga studio. From the outside it seems impossible place to find peace at home, let alone practice yoga. But I do it. I do it because it helps me as a woman, a mother and a wife. Sometimes I am on my mat 30 minutes, sometimes it’s five. But getting there restores a sense of determination when I need it, energy when I require it, and peace when I crave it. Some days I work on advanced postures I am trying to learn, some days I do repetitive Sun Salutations and other days I literally only lay in child’s pose. The goal is to get there. Here’s a short list of things I do that may help you create a home practice of your own.

1. Leave your mat out. I personally leave my mat out in the middle of the living room floor (unless my in laws are coming over). The boys walk all over it, my dog likes to nap on it for some reason and sometimes it gets pretty dirty. But leaving it out reminds me to get there. Leaving it out also gently reassures me that it is there for me when I need it. All which help me practice more often out of sheer frequency. Out of sight out of mind unfortunately rings true.. so keep your mat out!

2. Own headphones. Invest in a good pair! If you are a mommy, you know there are days that the noise decibel level inside is too much to bear and there are days your stress level can be at its peak. This is the time to plug in your headphones, put on a song that speaks to you (for me that is Jimi Hendrix, ‘Red House’), and do a few sun salutations. Maybe just breathe and sit in child’s pose. No matter what is going on around you, headphones will help you tune out the noise and take a few moments to yourself to center and recharge. You will feel better after a few minutes, I promise!

3. Ignore everything else going on. Barring an accident that draws blood, the kids will survive without your attention for ten minutes. The laundry, dishes, or checking Facebook can wait, you can DVR or pause the television, and your bedtime can be postponed a half hour. See suggestion #2 above (headphones), tune out the rest and focus on giving your practice your full attention. I use this tactic when I need a few minutes (a mommy time out if you will), and now when I am on the mat, my boys know that I will not answer any questions for the most part. It is my time.

4. Don’t worry about a plan. There are days I get on my mat and I stay in down dog for a long time before I decide where to go next. Other days, I am able to move between several poses without thinking, and even other days the creative juices are flowing and I am able to make up a series to teach for my next class. The point to remember is that it doesn’t matter. You don’t need a plan at all! That being said, if you are a person that needs structure, then start with a specific set of poses or try a internet class. I often take a class on YogaGlo to revive when I need to find new inspirations. Finding your way and doing it is more important than what you do.

 5. Establish a routine time, or don’t. What I mean by this is take into consideration the type of person you are when developing your home practice. Are you the type of person that if you set an alarm you are more likely to follow through, or are you a person that is better if you leisurely find your way to the mat during the week. For me, I practice whenever the mood strikes me, and since I keep my mat out, I can fold a few shirts in a load of laundry, turn around and practice five kick ups, and then finish folding the laundry and somehow it just works for me. For someone else, they may never make it to the mat unless they designate a specific time for it. So know yourself, and plan accordingly.

 6. Practice with the Seasons. Think outside the box! Is the sun shining? Move outside! Take a few vinyasas in the grass and get a tan while holding warrior 2!  Snowing perhaps? Practice by the fireplace! (not too close of course!) Full moon? Bring out your cushion and meditate on the back porch. Connecting the time of year, time of day and weather to your practice can help you feel a deeper connection to yourself. Plus it is fun and mixes it up! No one said you have to do yoga exactly the same way every time! You can also for the most part do yoga anywhere! Next time you are waiting in line at the grocery store- smile and practice tree pose. Forget the rules!

 7. Meditate. Yoga is not just about the asanas. The physical aspect is only one part of it. There actually is something called the ‘8 limbs of yoga’ which if you delve into yoga more deeply you can learn about, but getting back to the point, taking time to give your mind a break is a highly effective means to centering yourself as a person, and can enhance your yoga practice infinitely.

 8. Be patient with yourself. We all have jobs, long lists of responsibilities and different hats to wear. It is tough to make time for yourself and your practice in some part, because it can seem that you are being selfish to put aside all the things that need to be done to play on the mat. However, believe me when I tell you that your ‘self’ needs it! All of those things on the ‘to do’ list will still be there, the difference is, you will be better equipped to handle them.

I don’t always get on my mat.. but when I do, I always feel better. Stay thirsty my friends! 😉

IMG_8831Tiffani Shipman graduated from University of Oklahoma with degrees in Psychology and Sociology, received her RYT200 through Tiffany Cruikshank Yoga Medicine, and is currently studying Acupuncture, Holistic Therapy and Sports Medicine. She is a contributor to Misfit Yoga and Wellness and you can also find her blog, yoga schedule and more at www.tiffanishipman.com When she isn’t studying her craft or teaching yoga, you’ll find her playing practical jokes on her friends and family, restoring old cars, baking cupcakes, hula hooping, or enjoying a beer in the backyard. She resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband and three boys.

Peace, Love Wanderlust! ?

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Don’t forget to pack your Wanderlust Mala + bracelet before heading out to have the time of  your life. . . xx.

Confessions from a Boho Fashionista: Eat the Love You Feel

tdloveHey Boho Beauties,

It’s Valentine’s day in Bohemia, and I’m prepping for a romantic evening with my favorite special someone.

I spent a week visiting my super boho sister in San Francisco last spring, and she took me to a cooking class that blew our Californian minds. It wasn’t the class or the bronzed babe who taught it that made it so unbelievable. It was the simple, secret ingredient she shared with us that changed the way I cook forever.

I love to pay it forward, so this Valentine’s day my gift to you goddesses is the gift that Californian Chef gave to me.

Step One: Be a gourmet guru with love on your brain

After my week in the valley, I started cooking with love. Let me be more specific. Every time I walked into my kitchen, I went in with love on my mind.  I chopped veggies, and remembered sweet moments I’d spent with loved ones. I pulled dense leaves from kale stems, thought about times I’d felt sparkly and considered the people or places that made me feel that way. Then, I splashed oil and seeds on top of those beautiful culinary creations and soaked up the love.

Step Two: Eat the Love You Feel

Once the chow is ready, it’s time to eat the love. The magic in preparing a dish with love on your brain is that you are literally eating the love you felt when you made it. Pretty rad! Sit down, take a breath and let the quality love and kindness sink in.

Step Three: Share the Love You Madelet love in mala

After I’ve really felt the love, my favorite thing to do is share it. Those who’ve found the deepest love know that giving means receiving, so share that love-filled grub with your best gal pal or your sweetest honey.

My sweetie just showed up, so I’m putting on my Let Love In Mala and thinking some loving thoughts. Tonight when you’re massaging kale and cutting up veg, remember the people in your life who make it easy to love.

Peace, love and Magic from Bohemia xx