Developing a home yoga practice with Alison Leighton

Alison Leighton wrote a chapter on home practice in the Yoga Student Handbook: Develop Your Knowledge of Yoga Principles and Practice. She has been teaching yoga since 2010 and is registered with both the British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Alliance. She teaches classes and workshops in studios and also on a one-to-one basis with private clients.

During this Coronavirus crisis, remaining healthy and motivated have become more important than ever. Fortunately, technology is on our side and there are many excellent live stream options for home yoga practice with your regular teachers.

To complement this, I highly recommend having a home yoga practice where you practice on your own. You effectively take charge of when you practice, what you practice and the duration of your practice. This gives you total flexibility, especially if you are short on time or you want to focus on something specific as opposed to doing a full spectrum class practice.

Where do you start?

OK, so you want to practice at home but you don’t know where to start or how to find the motivation.

The space for home practice

First, find some space within your home, just enough to roll out your mat. Can you also find some wall space which might be useful for support when practising balances or inversions?

Ensure you have the metaphorical space too; minimise the chance of interruption from your phone or those you live with. Also think about the things which create an environment you like to practice in. It could be things like candles, playing music or being outside.

Focus your mind

Once the ambience is right and you get on your mat, spend a few moments thinking about what you want to practice. It can be very useful to set an intention or identify a theme. In my short video, I outline a “we are all warriors now” theme and have used this to inspire shapes and movements in my practice which give strength, courage, compassion and grace under pressure.

Perhaps you can use your home practice to get very creative. In my own home practice, there are days when I don’t feel so creative. So I might just practice lots of warm-up moves or strengthen a particular muscle group or dedicate my practice to other members of my family who are in the UK who I’m unable to see at the current time. I just let my body move. It usually knows how it likes to move and, before I know it, I find I’ve been practising for half an hour rather than for the intended ten minutes.

Sequence inspiration


Learn more about home practice

You can read about developing a home practice in The Yoga Student Handbook: Develop Your Knowledge of Yoga Principles and Practice edited by Sian O’Neill.

I wish you lots of joy with your home practice. Please always practice safely, taking care not to force poses or be overly ambitious in poses that you might like to achieve.

Yoga Student Handbook
Develop Your Knowledge of Yoga Principles and Practice

Edited by Sian O’Neill. Foreword by Lizzie Lasater

This practical companion for yoga students and teacher trainees shows how to deepen your knowledge of yoga and where to go next in your training, whether you are thinking of developing your own practice or considering becoming a yoga teacher.

Read more

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