As a teacher who instructs more classes per week than I can find time to take as a student, my home practice has become my yoga haven. However, there are many pitfalls that come with a practice where you are the only one to hold yourself accountable, as both teachers and at-home practitioners know.
One pitfall is that after a long day, the last thing you want to do is get on your mat – unless your mat is rolled out on top of your bed and you get to just crawl in and head off to dreamland. This means you might need a more playful way to begin your at home practice.
Another pitfall is when you are teaching 10 or so classes per week that are a variety of types and levels. How in the world do you create all those sequences for each class each week? How do you make them satisfying, creative and new for all of your students?
Here I can’t help but think of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy originally finds her home boring — a place that puts a damper on her desire to explore. However, after her journey in Oz, she came to realize that home was exactly where she wanted and needed to be.
The Best Homemade (or home-found) Yoga Props
With a change of perspective, everyday objects around you can transform, and suddenly you will find tons of creative possibilities in your home too. Sometimes the best yoga props are simple household objects… leading to deep practice revelations.
If you are a new student or teacher, and haven’t yet invested in your own props to keep at home, check out these very cheap yoga props. Two large hardcover books become your blocks (as an actress, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare is my go-to). Two to four pillows become your bolsters and sheets/towels your blankets. I gripped kettlebells when I had carpal tunnel syndrome in my wrists so that I could safely practice plank pose. I’ve used a colorful pair of leggings as my strap when needed.
Beyond that, to keep my home practice fresh and inspired over the years I have used blocks (bricks), pillows, blankets, Yoga Therapy Balls (amazing), tennis balls, wiffle balls and baseballs (too hard, but when you’re in a pinch you’re in a pinch), foam rollers, books, tables, chairs, ladders, kettle bells, hand-weights, water bottles, straps, belts, clothing, TheraBands, other humans, multiple yoga mats at once, walls, door handles, and many other random items from my household to support my practice.
I’m pretty sure at one point I was doing Chaturanga push-ups and tricep dips on top of my toilet.
Once you find the objects at home that can support your practice, try different ways to make use of them as you find creative ways to move. Allow your sense of childish playfulness and discovery to help you flow through designing a novel yoga pose sequence based on the objects and surfaces at home.
From beginners to more seasoned yogis, we are capable of much more inspiration and inventiveness than we might at first assume. So step back and use unexpected objects to further your understanding of alignment in poses. Concoct interesting, exciting sequences with safety and individual anatomy at the forefront. Pretty soon you will agree that there, most definitely, is no place like home!