Home Practice — How to Build One

By Lynn Felder, RYT

Want to practice yoga at home, but don’t know where to start?

A lot of yoga students tell me, from time to time, that you’d like to practice yoga at home, but you can’t remember anything from class.

Here are a couple of approaches to that problem:
Sit and wait.
Use a good DVD. I’ll suggest a few.

Sit and wait sounds silly, maybe, but it’s honestly a great approach.

Pick a time and a place to practice, and prepare a bit. If you’re choose to practice in the morning, wake up 15 or 20 minutes earlier than your current habit, so you won’t feel rushed.

Morning practice

The night before, prepare your space. You know you don’t need a lot of room to do yoga, but you need a place where you won’t be disturbed and that is attractive to you. Some people like lots of light and windows. A porch can be good or a quiet corner in your bedroom. If you prefer a darker, less-distracting environment, then a basement room — or even a big closet — will work.

The important thing is that you prevent disturbances: Turn off the phone, wake up before the kids, ask your spouse to respect this time.

Then: Set a timer; sit and wait. It’s better to sit than lie down in the morning, to keep from falling back asleep.

Sit in a comfortable position with eyes closed or slightly open (gaze down) and observe your breath.
Practice 3-part breathing (3-10 complete breaths).
Kapalabati breathing (50 slow, 50 fast).
Finish with 3 Lion’s breaths.
Do all of the following for 5 breaths in each position.
Seated side bend, left and right.
Seated forward fold.
Seated back bend (hands behind you on the floor, chest lifted, gaze up.
Come onto your hands and knees. And wait. Something will come to you. I promise.
Listen to your body, and it will invite you to the next thing. Downward-facing dog? Step forward into “flat back.” Lo and behold, you’re standing in Tadasana and ready to start your Sun Salutations.
When you finish to your satisfaction — or when your timer goes off — finish with 2 to 10 minutes of Sivansana (final relaxation).

Evening practice

It’s time to unwind. Set a timer; put your legs up the wall (Viparita Kirani) and breathe. Then —
Sit in a comfortable position with eyes closed or slightly open (gaze down) and observe your breath (sound familiar?).
Do all — or some — of the above (2 through 10).

Practice tips: You’re stronger in the morning, so it’s a good time for strength postures such as the warriors and arm balances like Bakasana (crow) and Vasithasana (one-arm balance). Evenings are good for Hanumanasana (splits or deep lunges on the floor), Eka padha raja kapatasana (pigeon) and forward bends.

Do proportionately more backbends in the morning than at night.

You can enhance your practice by placing any artworks or objects that are special to you in your designated place for yoga. Use candles, fragrance and music that supports your practice.

Intense effort should be balanced with some pleasurable experience. Offer yourself discipline and love. The two are not enemies.


There are a gazillion DVD’s on the market: on the Internet, at book stores, even at Whole Foods.

I have a bunch, but the one I use the most is “Flow Yoga” by my teacher, Stephanie Keach. I use the Intermediate.

If you have a favorite, please tell me about it - lynn@artsofyoga.com - and I'll mention it on this page. If you like, you can write a short review, telling us why you like it.

Happy Home Practice!


Copyright by Lynn Felder June 2007. Lynn Felder is an award-winning journalist, a yoga teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance and the author of the DVD “Gentle Yoga for Cancer Patients,” available at www.artsofyoga.com.

You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to lynn@artsofyoga.com and link to www.artsofyoga.com.