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


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


Be imperfect

Be imperfect

“I can’t do those yoga poses…. So there’s no point in me doing that class…”

Sound familiar???

We live in SUCH an outcomes- and prestige-focussed world that most of us are afraid of being ‘not good’ at something. We’d rather not even try something, than fail at it, or look silly or look like a ‘beginner’.

I’m not judging! I’m right there with you!

But I’m bringing this up because I feel passionately that we DON’T have to be perfect.

 

‘Perfection’ is all around us…

How many ‘perfect’ Instagram/Facebook/TikTok posts do you see every day? MANY – I’d guess!

This is becoming such a phenomenon that there’s even academic research about it. Academics call it ‘Socially prescribed perfectionism’ and argue that it is, in fact, a serious health hazard (Flett et al., 2022).

It’s not easy to ignore the seemingly flawless skin, the perfectly toned bodies, perfect family get togethers, or tidy and clean kitchens!

I’m definitely guilty of this…. Just yesterday I posted a Reel on Instagram about my day spent filming new yoga classes. This Reel showed everything that went well in the day. What it DIDN’T include was how we started very late because I had to go back home to shave my armpits and cut my toe-nails, which I’d completely forgotten to do!

 

The trap of perfection

Sometimes you hear the word ‘perfection’ or ‘perfectionist’ used in a positive way. For instance, someone might credit their tendency towards ‘perfectionism’ for being good at their jobs.

However…

THIS. IS. NOT. TRUE.

Perfectionism is, in fact, a troublesome personality trait to which a whole field of academic research is devoted! (Just type in ‘perfectionism’ in Google Scholar).

Perfectionism has been associated with burn-out (Hill and Curran, 2016), a range of different psychological disorders (Limburn et al., 2016) and eating disorders (Anderluh et al., 2009) – to name just a few negative associations!

I am, by no means, well-read in this field of research. But what I can quickly tell from browsing through a Google Scholar search is that ‘perfectionism’ is NOT seen as a positive thing by scientists.

The person who says “I’m a perfectionist, that’s why I’m good at my job”, is probably very persistent and determined, and has put in the necessary hard work to improve themselves to become good at their job!

 

Imperfection is liberating

So….. why am I writing about this?

Well, I believe that we’d all enjoy many more activities (yoga/sports/performing arts… etc.) and start more projects (work/creative/social) if we’d be OK with not being perfect.

Summing up the motivation and applying a sincere effort to something is what it’s really about. Not being ‘perfect’.

What do you think YOU can’t do?

(but secretly would like to do!)

…learn a foreign language?

…perform on-stage?

…attend a yoga class?

…run 5km?

Why not start whatever you feel you can’t do with an attitude of “when I first try it, I’ll be a beginner, and I’ll need to ‘learn on the job’. That’s ok. That’s normal.”

This is such a liberating perspective because it opens up the door to soooooo many new and joyful experiences.

 

Ironically…

When you want to do something perfectly, it is likely that you will feel so much anxiety towards that tasks that:

A) You might not start it at all, or

B) You’ll probably achieve a worse outcome, due to the nerves!

Instead… When you let go of the need to be perfect, you actually allow yourself to be more motivated to do something for the joy of it, which means you’ll do it more often and, usually, you’ll get better at it as a result!

 

A few examples about me…

A couple of ways that embracing imperfection helps me are in my own yoga practice, and in working on my online yoga business.

Whenever I get on my yoga mat, I give myself the permission to do the poses only to the level that feels right that day, and the permission to stop at any point if I’m really not feeling it.

This allows me to get over my resistance to practice (if I’m feeling tired or, shock horror, a bit lazy!). So it get’s me started, and uuuuusually I end up doing a pretty intense practice anyway!

When it comes to my online yoga business, I have sooooo much impostor syndrome! I feel like I cannot come close to the famous online yogis out there right now.

BUT! I know I should not let this get the better of me. So I make a great conscious effort to allow myself to ‘learn on the job’. When I started I was a complete beginner in the online entrepreneurial space, and I would never have continued to learn and innovate if I felt it all needed to be ‘perfect’ straight away.

I am STILL a baby in this entrepreneurial life, and very imperfect. And that’s OK! I will continue to put in the time and effort to learn more and improve.

What about you?

I invite you to take a moment to reflect.

What is it that you’re not doing, for fear of not doing it ‘perfectly’? Is it a type of exercise? A business idea? A healthy-lifestyle change?

In the coming week, perhaps try to take the first step towards this activity/change with a mindset that you can do it ‘imperfectly’.

 

Let’s do some yoga!

If you are a Bendywife Yoga member, I challenge you to pick a class that is difficult for you and practice it with the mindset of being OK with the fact that you can’t do it all ‘perfectly’.

If you learn how to embrace being ‘Imperfect’ while giving difficult things your ‘all’, then this will transform your life!

Open your diary, and plan it in!

❤️

Thanks for your attention!

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. 🤓

I’d love to hear your views on this 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

References

Anderluh, M., Tchanturia, K., Rabe-Hesketh, S., Collier, D., & Treasure, J. (2009). Lifetime course of eating disorders: design and validity testing of a new strategy to define the eating disorders phenotype. Psychological medicine, 39(1), 105-114.

Flett, G. L., Hewitt, P. L., Nepon, T., Sherry, S. B., & Smith, M. (2022). The destructiveness and public health significance of socially prescribed perfectionism: A review, analysis, and conceptual extension. Clinical Psychology Review, 93, 102-130.

Hill, A. P. and Curran, T. (2016) Multidimensional Perfectionism and Burnout: A Meta-Analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 20 (3). pp. 269-288.

Limburg, K., Watson, H. J., Hagger, M. S., & Egan, S. J. (2016). The relationship between perfectionism and psychopathology: A meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22435


No-one's watching

No-one’s watching… 👀

Do you have an Instagram account?

If so, you have probably seen many images of professional yogis doing crazy poses, in amazing locations, with perfectly sculpted bodies.

Well….. I’m sure you know this, but it’s worth repeating…

That’s not what yoga looks like 99.99% of the time!

Nor does it have to look like that.

If fact, very seldom are the professional yogis in these pictures actually doing a yoga practice at the time that the picture is taken. Instead, they have scouted out a nice location and are doing the pose solely for the purpose of the picture.

Speaking from experience, that is NOT yoga.

I have done my fair share of posing for the camera in crazy yoga poses, and it always leaves me feeling sore, as I am not properly warmed up, and it definitely doesn’t provide any form of mental relaxation or spiritual practice!

(Even the image above wasn’t a real yoga pactice! 🙈)

 

What actually matters?

My aim in writing this, is to ease any anxiety you may have about how your body will look when doing a yoga practice.

It doesn’t matter:

…if you touch your toes or not.

… what you’re wearing.

…what size and shape your body is.

…whether you’re tired.

…whether you’re stressed.

…whether you can do the ‘full pose’ or do an adapted version of it.

The only things that matter are:

…that you come to your yoga mat with an openness and acceptance to meet whatever comes up in your body and mind.

…that you attempt to breathe intentionally (even if you forget, then just come back to it).

…that you listen to your body, and learn when you can push harder, and when you need to back off.

 

My personal yoga journey

When I first started yoga, I definitely had more of a performance mindset than I do now. I even injured my hamstring by pushing too hard in single leg forward-folding/splits-type poses!

I’d like to think that I now use yoga as a way to calm my mind and find inner peace, even if I still love gaining physical strength from it.

I believe it’s absolutely OK to work towards physical benefits with a yoga practice, as long as it does not detract from the effects of yoga on calming the mind and reaching a higher level of self-acceptance.

That said…. I still catch myself having a craving for ‘achieving’ a particular pose sometimes!! 🤷‍♀️

When I notice this, I know it’s time for me to become a little more mindful with my yoga practice again, to focus on the breath and look LESS at Instagram! 😆

 

What about you?

What is your yoga practice like right now?

Stop for a moment to reflect on the feelings you experience before a yoga practice.

Is it openness to whatever may arise?

Or is there an expectation and slight worry about not being ‘able to do the poses’?

Doing this inner work is as much part of yoga as the poses themselves.

 

Let’s practice non-attachment

I invite you to pick an on-demand video class that is challenging for you, and to consciously work on being open to what arises in your body and mind.

It takes practice to let go of a performance mind-set.

During the challenging class allow yourself to give a real, sincere effort, but to let go of any judgement about whether you ‘achieved’ the poses or not.

Let’s open the diary, and plan in your next practice… 🙏

Thank you for reading my blog!

If you feel moved to try some yoga yourself (even if you are a complete beginner), then you can have a go at trying some on-demand classes completely for FREE!

Love,

Jolanthe Xx

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