A "beginner's mind" is a term you may have heard thrown around the yoga world. It means we're heading to our mats with no preconceived notions about what we can or can't accomplish, what poses we can or can't do — essentially, we should approach each experience like it's the very first time. While this is a tool we can take to all facets of our practice, recently, I've been finding it essential when practicing at home. Regardless of whether you're brand new to yoga or you're a seasoned yogini looking to breathe new life into a stale home practice, it's time to take these five tips to heart!
- Set up a sacred space: While yoga is certainly a physical practice, half of its beauty comes with the clarity it brings to your mind. This comes first and foremost with a serene environment conducive to yoga. Make sure you have ample room to move with as few technological distractions as possible. When the mood strikes, turn on soothing music and light a candle or two. This is your time, so let's get it as relaxing as possible!
- Make yourself (and your yoga) a priority: It's easy to get distracted from your home practice. Yes, things certainly come up and plans change, but do your best to dedicate a specific amount of time to your yoga. If you're constantly cutting out yoga from your schedule, rethink when it is a best fit. If you normally plan on practicing at night postwork but always cancel, try waking up a little early to kick things off with some Sun Salutations. It will bring a whole new energy to your day.
- Be gentle with yourself: Learning to listen to your body is one of the best gifts you can receive from yoga. There's a difference between pushing yourself to a comfortable edge and putting yourself in a stressful position that will lead to a serious injury. I had a fantastic teacher who told me that you can really feel the difference between a "good" hurt and a "bad" hurt. If you're delving into a yoga home practice, you're going to have to get acquainted with this difference. Get yourself set up with all the necessary tools of the trade, and listen to your body now so you don't pay for it with serious discomfort later.
- Pop in a video or print out a sequence: Having some structure can bring great balance to your practice. When I first got into yoga, I would just move into whatever positions I wanted if they made me feel good. While treating yourself to these moments every once in a while is great, and while taking Child's Pose is always a solid option when you need to reconnect with your breath, having structure will bring your practice to new heights.
- Get yourself to a led class: Yes, I realize that we're talking about setting up a home practice, but doing studio classes will help you bring that same motivation home. You'll be able to take tips from the teacher and try out new postures, and there's nothing you can read or watch that gives you the same hands-on experience of an adjustment. Even something as seemingly simple as your Downward Dog or a basic Forward Bend can be a whole new experience with the right help from a great teacher. If you have a well-oiled home practice, getting to a class will shake things up. For me, there is nothing that compares to the vibe of a full room; I always find myself more motivated in these situations than if I'm alone hanging at home.
Get two more tips after the jump.
Any other tips for keeping a beginner's mind or cultivating a strong home practice? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!