Not all of us have the time, money or means available to be able to regularly practice our yoga in a studio with a teacher to help with adjustments and alignment help. We aren't all that fortunate to have the time and an informed instructor on hand to guide us, whenever we are in fact ready to go.
It had been a long and often difficult/confusing road for me practicing at home as I often do, especially with no real formal experience to speak of, until I started to get the hang of it and structure a routine and environment that actually worked for me.
Since I have, I'd like to share a couple of things that have made a difference for me and my yoga mat these last few months.
1. Set up a dedicated space to practice.
I have a corner in my bedroom, behind the hamper and past the pile of clothes overflowing. It's quiet and out of the way. Nothing and no one go back there and so it has become my designated area to practice yoga. It is desolate. Peaceful and comfortable. I roll up and stash my mat back as soon as I'm done. It is consistent and that is key. Once I pick up any remaining piles of clothing off the floor I typically light a candle or incense and roll out my mat. Having a space in your home dedicated to the peaceful tranquility you seek is comforting and allows you to slip in to the mood in no time.
2. Pick out some music in advance.
Music has the ability to help drop you deeper into the moment, and your breath becomes part of the music. Choose songs that speak to you and are slow and relaxing. The right music is both moving and inspiring and inspires us to move.
3. Keep a practice journal.
No one will document your journey unless you do it yourself. In the end this is all about you. What makes you feel good? What doesn't? What is awkward? Where do you excel and where do you need practice? Take notes. Re-visit them prior to your next session(s) and try to build on your routine. If you find a posture that you like and that works for you, be sure to document it. Was it more beneficial to go from Plank to Downward Facing Dog or Downward Facing Dog to Plank. How many breaths did you hold each for?
4. Make others in the house aware what you are doing.
Where and for how long. While this may initially be awkward and seem like too much information it will put everyone on the same page and hopefully eliminate any unwanted interruptions, visitors or loud distracting noises.
5. Learn to sound out Sanskrit words
If your primary teacher is a television or YouTube, you may find that you don't actually get out to talk to much about your relaxing new hobby. Be prepared when you finally do ensnare someone in a conversation by knowing the correct (proper) pronunciation of the sanskrit postures you are actively practicing. This way you won't risk sounding less than knowledgeable on the subject matter at hand and can continue confidently discussing all things yoga with whomever will listen.
There you have it. Now you are ready to be an expert at home all by yourself. What are you waiting for?