5 Tips for Yoga at Home

Don’t rely on willpower.

Build a habit!

 

“I just can’t motivate myself to do yoga at home!”

Sound familiar? 🤔

I hear this soooooo often, so if this sounds like you, please don’t feel guilty about it.

 

Willpower is overrated.

Willpower is great for those few times when you need to do something really hard. But it’s not something that will sustain a lifelong yoga practice.

The only thing that will help you do that is to build it into your day as a HABIT.

Even if you feel there is ABSOLUTELY noooooo way that you’ll be able to sustain a yoga habit, please read on and see whether my 5 tips could help you get started…

 

Tip 1. Same place

Before you embark on starting your yoga habit, visualise where you can do it.

It doesn’t have to be a special dedicated space!! In fact, my heart always sinks a little when I hear people say:

“I just have to prepare my workout room, and THEN I’ll start yoga”.

No. no. no!

Do it IN the MIDDLE of your mess! In the kitchen/living room/bedroom. Anywhere! All you need is enough space for your mat.

However, even though you can do yoga ANYWHERE, it does help to have a plan of where you will regularly do it. For me it’s in my kitchen, right next to the washing machine and all my toddlers toys!

Of course this is not set in stone. By all means, if it’s nice weather, go outside! Having a regular place just takes away the mental load of having to decide where to do it, when your yoga time-window comes around.

 

Tip 2. Same time

Where in your life would 15 mins of yoga fit in?

(If you think even 15 minutes of yoga doesn’t fit in, just reflect for a moment about how much time you spend scrolling on social media… #justsayin’)

The most beneficial time to do yoga is in the morning. Before the craziness of the day takes over your mind and body.

However….. if you REALLY aren’t up to much in the morning, pick any other time of day! Lunch-time? Immediately post-work? Late in the evening?

Whatever time you choose, think about what the competing demands will be at that time. Is this a realistic time?

The truth is, there is NO perfect time. And that time will shift when you’re in a different life-stage.

A few years ago I practiced in the morning at 6:30. Then I had a baby! For a while my chosen time was 10:00am during his morning baby nap. And now it’s 1:00pm during his toddler lunch nap.

Soon he’ll be too old to nap, and then I’ll probably go back to early morning again! (For me the evening is not an option. I am just too exhausted from the day).

So pick YOUR best time – for your current life phase.

And then STICK.TO.IT! (no excuses)

 

Tip 3. Write it in your diary

You don’t have to practice eeeeevery day. However, doing it 2-3 times a week is optimal for making a real difference to your body and mind.

Pick which days are your yoga days. For me it’s Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

And then write it in your diary, in the chosen time that works for you.

And I mean literally WRITE-IT-IN! (in a paper diary or electronic one on your phone). This will act like a little contract you make with yourself.

I’m serious about this one. Actually schedule in yoga time!

If you have a shared diary, this will make your partner more accommodating of your yoga habit as well.

 

Tip 4. Don’t wait for motivation

Don’t expect to always ‘feel like’ doing yoga.

It’s normal and totally expected that you won’t feel like doing it. (Especially if your yoga time is early morning or late at night).

Your brain will be saying to you:

“Ohh but it’s so comfy sitting here scrolling my phone…” or

“But I’m soooo tired. I really need 15 more minutes in bed”.

This is your brain just not wanting to get ‘un-comfortable’. (Read some more about how to say no to your brain, for long term health benefits in this blog).

Most times when I get on my yoga mat, I don’t really feel like doing it. In the moment before starting, I’d much rather sit and chill-out with a book or my phone, or do some very necessary house-tidying.

However, I begrudgingly get on my mat, and even a few minutes in, I am happy to be practicing yoga.

(If you’re a runner, this is a very similar experience to feeling the dread BEFORE a run, but then feeling a runners-high somewhere in the middle of the run and afterwards).

Motivation is over-rated.

Don’t wait for a strong desire for yoga to start it!

Do it, even if you don’t want to, and the ‘feel-good’ will come later!

 

Tip 5. Start small

Ok, so you’ve got your time, place, diary schedule and mind-set…. Now, my final tip is really important.

START SMALL. Like, really small.

Don’t even go anywhere NEAR a yoga class that’s over 30 minutes long, until you feel you have a sustainable habit in place.

Ideally, stick to 15-20 minutes at first.

You’ll get physical and mental benefits, and you’ll avoid any future aversions to practicing because you think “I haven’t got the time”.

 

One last tip…

I’ve just thought of another one! Don’t worry about what you’re wearing, what state your home is in, or anything like that.

When your scheduled yoga time comes round. Drop everything! (Well, not a baby, if you’re holding one!)

The house can wait. No one cares about what you’re wearing or what your hair looks like.

Just drop down, and give me 20! 😉

Yoga homework!

So… this week I invite you to think about your yoga habit, and start planning it in.

Take some time to think about the logistics.

Start SMALL – but consistent.

(It can always increase later)

Then write it in your diary.

THEN… DO IT!

I’m rooting for you!

💪🙏😁

I hope you enjoyed this mini blog. 🤓

Please share your views in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


You are not fragile

Believe in the power of your body

Have you ever heard the term ‘anti-fragility’?

This is a concept describing things that can adapt positively to stress.

And, you guessed it, our bodies are ‘anti-fragile’!

There are many factors that contribute to how robust or fragile we feel. These can be physical, mental and social.

In this short little blog I’ll explain how we can re-gain confidence in our body, even if you have, at times, lost it.

 

We’re not a car engine…

Think about a car engine. You might not describe that as fragile either! However, it is brittle. With more and more use it slowly wears down, bits chip off, its metal slowly loses tensile strength.

It might be super strong to begin with, but constant use does, eventually, lead to it needing to be replaced.

Another example is a piece of pottery. This is much more obviously fragile. Once broken, it needs to be glued together, and will never be as strong as it originally was.

Our bodies are NOT like a car engine or a piece of pottery!

We are made of living tissues, so our body is constantly re-modelling itself. Yes, this re-modelling process does slow down a bit with age, but it is STILL happening!

So, unlike an engine or piece of pottery, when our tissues get a little bit damaged, our body gets to work, repairing itself.

 

Stress can be positive!

Stress gets a bad rap. That’s because we only associate it with being stressed-out mentally.

However, any use of the body exerts a physical stress on our muscles and bones (and all other tissues of the body).

Exercise is therefore a ‘stress’ to the body. But it is a positive stress! The more intense the exercise the more stress it generates. At extreme levels this stress can, of course, become not-so-good. Although if you build up to it, the body can take a huge amount of stress!

The ‘good’ stress that exercise puts on our bodies does actually cause micro-damage to our muscles and bones. This is what happens when you get a muscle-ache. However, this sends useful signals to our body that go something like this:

“Hey body, I can see you are being used for some strenuous movement. Just in case it’s going to happen again, I think you’d better re-pair this little bit of damage and make it stronger for next time!”

And then that’s exactly what happens. Your muscle cells get repaired and made a little bigger and stronger. Your bones get repaired and made a little denser. This is why ‘weight-baring’ activity is advised for anyone prone to osteoporosis (bones becoming less dense).

Ooooobviously, exercise-stress needs to be increased in small(ish) steps. That’s why people need to train for a marathon! Doing a marathon without training would be too much stress. But running one after the correct training regime is juuuust about within the ‘ok’ range of stress.

So, be sensible! (Is all I’m saying.)

 

‘Comfort’ isn’t always your friend…

When there is a LACK of stress (if you’d sit down or lie in bed all day), that ALSO sends a message to the body. That would sound something like this:

“Hey body, I don’t think these muscles and bones are being used for anything important. Why don’t you stop wasting precious resources and stop maintaining their size and strength. It won’t matter that they’ll get weaker, you seem to be sitting down all day anyway.”

That might make you feel a bit shocked. But it’s true! And that’s why a sedentary lifestyle is not good for anyone.

Buuuuuut, let’s stay positive here…

The body is AMAZING!

It will adapt and become STRONGER when you do difficult things with your muscles and bones.

 

Language matters

The language we use around our bodies also matters in how we feel and act. This is relevant for how others talk to us, and ALSO how we talk to ourselves (self-talk).

It has been shown in research that there is a powerful thing called a ‘no-cebo’ effect. This is the opposite of placebo.

We all know that a placebo effect is something positive that happens from taking a ‘fake’ medicine (or other treatment or behaviour). It happens purely by the power of our positive thinking about the value of what we’re being given or made to do.

Well, the same is true in reverse.

A no-cebo effect happens when we believe something will have a harmful effect on us (even if it usually doesn’t), and then by the power of these thoughts we actually see this harmful effect.

For example, we might experience actual pain from exercise movements if we’re told these movements are dangerous or if we’re told our bodies are weak and prone to injury. We might feel actual symptoms of being ill if we’ve been told by someone with a white coat that we have a serious illness.

So, I’m very conscious of using positive language about everyone bodies when I teach a yoga class. I’m always mindful of reminding my students that they body is strong and capable (as they may not believe it themselves).

 

What about you?

Have you underestimated your body so far?

Does knowing your amazing ability to adapt to stress help you feel that exciting, active pursuits are within reach for you?

I hope so.

I hope that this mini blog makes you feel a sense of positivity about your body. With regular practice and your body’s capacity to adapt, there is almost no physical pursuit that is out of reach!

Yoga homework!

This week, I invite you to do a difficult workout. Whether that’s a run, lifting some weights, a yoga session or anything else.

Obviously, stay within a range that pushes you without being a ridiculous leap.

(Just be sensible)

But try to do something that will give you a muscle ache. And when you feel that 1 or 2 days later, think of it as a positive message to your body, and visualise those muscles getting re-built stronger for next time.

 

Ps. Also do one of my yoga classes… 😉

(The strength theme will be great for this yogi-assignment!)

I hope you enjoyed this mini blog. 🤓

Please share your views in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


There is NO perfect pose

Yoga Poses look different on everyone

 

Have you ever found yourself thinking…

“If I do yoga at home, I won’t know whether I’m doing it right!”

“My body can’t make those shapes!”

“I will BREAK if I attempt that pose!”

I completely understand why many of us feel this way. We feel the need to achieve some external standard of ‘yoga shapes’ because that’s what we think yoga is!

The sad thing is that many people NEVER start yoga, because they feel that the poses are just too far out of reach. 😔

This feeling is created by the achievement mindset that is ALL around us, as well as the many images and videos of advanced yoga poses on social media!

However, I’ve got some good news for you…

There is NO perfect pose.

Yoga poses (Asanas) look different on everyone. And yoga is not about what the poses LOOK like anyway!!

It’s about what the poses DO for the individual.

 

Scared of doing it ‘incorrectly’

I often hear people say that they worried about doing the poses ‘incorrectly’ if they are not with a teacher. This stops them trying yoga at home.

There is some logic in this, however it’s not the whole truth.

Yes, if you’re attempting very advanced yoga poses at home, without the necessary preparation in flexibility, strength and awareness, this could cause issues. Think Head-Stand, Lotus pose and Leg Behind the Head pose.

(These are poses I don’t recommend for yoga beginners).

However…. That is NOT what most home-yogis do! And most recorded yoga classes don’t go into these poses either!

 

Getting in-tune with YOUR body

For the VAST majority of yoga poses, there is absolutely no risk in doing the poses a little differently. Our bodies are strong and adaptable (even for those that don’t think so!)

You just have to stay aware of how your body is feeling, and don’t force things that feel wrong. (This is general common sense that applies to everything in life!)

We actually get more in-tune with ourselves, when we experiment with how OUR body feels in a yoga pose. It might be that moving the arms in a particular way gives YOU a better sensation of stretching somewhere (regardless of whether you’re imitating the ‘picture’ of the pose).

So what I say to those who feel afraid to start yoga at home is:

“Stay mindful of how your body feels”.

“The shape of the pose doesn’t matter. What matters is the FEELING it creates in YOUR body”.

 

Should I follow instructions?

In a yoga class, or recorded video, you’ll often hear instructions such as ‘bend the knee deeply’, ‘broaden the collarbones’, ‘twist from the belly’… etc.

These are all TIPS to help you, the student, make little adjustments to your body’s position in order to find a satisfying position for YOU.

When it come to these ‘instructions’ – you can take them or leave them!

The important this is how things feel for YOU, and not to worry if that means making a different shape compared with your yoga teacher!

As a yoga teacher, I actually LOVE seeing when students clearly are thinking and moving for themselves, and moving in a way that suits their bodies.

 

The JOY of home yoga

I learned yoga at home from books and apps. Yes, I did go to classes now and then, but it was never regular.

What I LOVE from practicing in my own space is that I can make it my OWN.

Even if you’re following a recorded class (hint, hint… I have many! 😉), you can choose to skip a pose, or replace it with something that feels better in the moment.

(You can choose to do that in a group class too! But it can feel more uncomfortable to be ‘different’ from the group).

So, I HIGHLY recommend a home yoga practice! For yoga beginners and for those with an established practice.

And I also recommend to leave ‘perfection’ OFF the mat!

Yoga Homework!

I invite you to do a yoga practice at home, and reeeeeally make it your own.

In every pose, be aware of where YOU feel it stretching/strengthening.

Is there a stretch that you want more of? Then move a little differently to try and deepen that stretch.

It is YOUR practice!

(Ps. If you’d like to follow a recorded class, check out my online library!

Scroll down to access my free classes.)

I hope you enjoyed this mini blog. 🤓

I’d love to hear your views in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


Finding Acceptance

Let’s Celebrate our Differences!

 

One thing I LOVED about my yoga teacher-training was that we were all so different, but there was absolutely NO Judgement.

We spoke about, investigated and celebrated these differences. This was the first time in my life that I felt completely, 100% accepted. Warts and all!

Even if you’re not in the game of becoming a yoga teacher, this is SO relevant to you too.

YOU are unique.

YOU are fascinating.

YOU are amazing!

I hope to convince you that you can notice and accept your uniqueness! To observe it with curiosity and without judgement.

AND you can honour your unique body and mind in ways that will bring the best out of you.

 

Observing without judgement

So, going back to my budding yoga-teacher friends.

Every day we would practice 1 1/2 hours of sweaty yoga together. We’d learn anatomy together, often identifying muscles and bones on each other. We’d eat meals together. We’d practice teaching yoga to each other. We’d sleep in shared rooms.

SO we learned A LOT about each other very quickly.

We quickly knew that some of us were naturally flexible, others were naturally strong. These two extremes are generally mutually-exclusive at the extreme end. So a very strong person tends to be less flexible, and vice versa.

Rather than feel ‘less-than’ others, we’d study and investigate how some poses were naturally easier for some of us, and then marvel at how the less bendy of us were so strong in arm-balance poses.

There was NO judgement. Just observation and interest.

We all knew that everyone had their own ‘super power’ and that these were wildly different from each other.

All of this introspection and comparison was in the name of learning about different bodies, because our future yoga students would all be different, and beautifully unique too!

Mind-body types

It wasn’t just out bodies that were different, but also our minds and personalities. We observed and marvelled at these differences too!

We were all learning Aryuveda, India’s traditional ‘life science’, and so applied what we learned on each other.

Aryuveda describes people to have different mind-body constitutions (Doshas): Vata, Pitta and Kapha (or a mix of 2 or all 3 of these).

 

In short:

  • Vata-types are light, airy, creative, but prone to overwhelm and anxiety
  • Pitta-types are fiery, strong and driven, but prone to frustration and bossiness
  • Kapha types are loving, grounded, and calm but prone to laziness and weight gain

(For a more in-depth description of this see my previous blog: Your Mind-Body type.)

 

Finding Acceptance

We all enjoyed identifying and discussing what Aryuvedic mind-body constitutions we had. We shared with each other the things we found helpful (balancing) and what was our kryptonite (what brought us out of balance).

This exercise brought us so much closer together. It helped us understand how to interact in the best way, and how to be accommodating of each others’ needs.

Everyone quickly realised I was very ‘Pitta’. So if I was a little bossy at times, they’d shrug it off because they knew that was my pitta-personality coming through.

Similarly, the Kapha types of the group loved chilling out on the sofas in the afternoons. So I wouldn’t be offended if they declined my offer of a long walk after class!

(I’d just find another Pitta to join me!)

We also understood that the Vata-types of our group (and yoga teachers are often Vata) reeeeally needed their rest in the weekends. As all that learning, movement and socialising quickly had an overwhelming effect on them.

All in all, we observed and respected our differences, without judgement.

This was the FIRST time in my life that I had such an experience, and it felt AMAZING.

After the 4 intense weeks together I had a whole new appreciation and acceptance of my own uniqueness and that of everyone else.

 

How can this help you?

Have you started thinking about how YOU are unique while reading this?

Undoubtedly, you will have a mind-body constitution that is 1, 2 or all 3 of Vata, Pitta and/or Kapha.

But I urge you to understand that one is not better than the others. They each bring amazing different ‘super-powers’ and well as some different tendencies to keep in check.

When you are aware of your underlying Dosha type (Vata, Pitta and/or Kapha), then you can recognise your strengths and also be more understanding and accepting of yourself when things don’t quite go to plan.

 

A personal example

Knowing that I am a mix of mostly Pitta (productive and fiery) and some Vata (light and airy), I value my creativity and willingness to work hard, yet I know that I am prone to stress, anxiety and snapping at loved-ones (getting a bit heated).

So, I try to avoid becoming frustrated by cooling myself down with a regular yoga practice and mindful breathing, and taking a pause before reacting to someone.

But when I do get heated, and trust me…. it happens, then I try to be forgiving to myself. (And of course, I apologise to whomever took the brunt of it!)

Yoga Homework!

I invite you to observe and study your own tendencies.

Don’t judge! Just observe, notice, be curious.

Try to identify your ‘super-powers’ and value them.

Then try to identify you ‘kryptonite’ and ways in which you could help yourself become a little more balanced.

(If you’re unsure what Dosha constitution you are, and what could bring you into balance, then read my previous blog that goes into more detail! Your Mind-Body Type).

Ps. Also do some yoga! 😜

I hope you enjoyed this mini blog. 🤓

I’d love to hear your views in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


Yoga in Relationships

Choose to see kindness…

 

“I wish I’d recorded what happened!”

…this is something I always think after an argument with my husband. (And yes, we do argue!)

Our version of events always seems SOOOO different, that my science-driven brain always craves for the ‘hard evidence’ of what actually happened!

(Yet, I’m not sure seeing a recording would be helpful anyway….)

But what WOULD be helpful?

 

Yoga off the mat…

“Why are you talking about relationships?” You may ask. “Isn’t this a YOGA blog?”

Yoga is more than stretching on the mat. It’s also the way you show up in your life, your relationships and the wider world.

That’s why I decided to write about this topic today.

Regular practice of yoga asanas (poses), mindful breathing, self-inquiry and treating yourself and the world around you with love and kindness is ALL part of the yogic lifestyle.

Doing the yoga poses regularly themselves will really help you cultivate more patience and kindness to yourself and others.

However…. Sometimes our reactive brains could use a little EXTRA guidance!

So here it is!

 

Choose to see kindness

I’ve learned from my friend, and fellow BendyWife member, that how we see the world around us is merely a VERSION of it, filtered through our own brain.

It’s NOT fact. …it’s fiction!

And we can CHOOSE which version of reality will give us the most peaceful and loving outcomes.

Naomi helps people to massively improve any relationship (not just with a partner/spouse). The following is a little guest blog that she has written for us!

The examples she gives are about her and her husband. However, this message is just as relevant to a relationship between siblings, children and parents, friends, and colleagues.

 

Naomi says:

Fact or Fiction?

If there are things about a relationship you have that you’re unhappy with right now try this:

  • Check the version of events you’re telling yourself and
  • Ask yourself why you’re choosing this version?

I meet with my clients weekly and run all their relationship struggles and stresses through a Fact/Fiction exercise.

The Facts are what we can prove in a Court of Law.  Anything else is your opinion and this is what we call The Fiction.

Your opinion determines the meaning you give to the actions of the other person and that creates how you feel.

I ask my clients “What are you CHOOSING to think and feel about your partner and how does this influence how you interact with them?”

I’ll show this in a personal example…

Today, because my husband and I had a date, he missed his Martial Arts class. I get to choose the meaning I want to give to this.

Once upon a time I would have thought “He’s ALWAYS going to that damned class, so it’s no big deal…

It’s right that he should miss it to be with me”.

NOW I think: “Wow, I know how much he loves that class. How lucky am I that he’s choosing to be with me instead.”

One meaning creates expectations and entitlement and the other one makes me feel loved and special.

When I feel lucky, loved and special I show up HAPPY on our dates. We have a good time together, we laugh, it’s easy and playful.

This is why my husband misses his classes to be with me because he sees how much it lights me up!

So the meaning YOU give matters because it determines how you interact with your partner and that determines the kind of responses you get from THEM.

This is how you create a happy marriage / close friendship / great family dynamic etc.

Yoga homework!

This week, I invite you to work on HOW you see the meaning of others’ actions.

And to work on CHOOSING the meaning of kindness, generosity and love.

(Ps. Perhaps ALSO do some yoga…. 😉)

 

I’ll be joining you in this challenge!

While I’m quite bendy… I could use some extra practice in my reactivity to others’ actions.

So, let’s all practice OFF the mat together!

❤️

Credit where it’s due!

Thank you for your wisdom, Naomi!

If you want help with your relationship send Naomi an email at [email protected] to book a free phone consultation call.

P.S. You can download Naomi’s free guide with 5 skills for a happy marriage here.


I hope you enjoyed this mini blog. 🤓

I’d love to hear your views in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x