Explode Your Yoga Self-Practice

What Does Yoga Self-Practice Look Like?

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to maintain a daily yoga practice. Furthermore, we think that yoga self-practice should look like what we do with our teachers. It should be 90 minutes, thorough, and demanding. We should be doing it if we are tired, distracted, and even if we have loved ones waiting for us to spend time with them. If we don’t practise in this way we assume we will revert back into a knot of stress and tension. This expectation of practice is a big ask and maybe not even worth it.

I’ve learned from Bo Forbes, based on her review of the literature of the effects of yoga on baseline stress levels, that we need practice frequency rather than practice duration. Simply put, it might be a fallacy to think that a long practice in the morning (or two or three times a week) will keep you covered in terms of developing stress resilience and sustaining a balanced nervous system. Self-practice can take the form of lots of mini-practices throughout the day that interact and dialogue with how you are feeling in your body, nervous system, and heart.

Practise Differently

This doesn’t mean you have to practise more, it means you practise differently. You take the pressure of your yoga practice having to take one, solidified, ‘do-what-it-says-on-the-tin’ approach. You can liberate your practice and let it be flexible, dynamic, and responsive to your life. As an experiment, practise the short practices you love outside the context of a full and comprehensive sequence. And if you like longer practices, you can do that too!

Before you begin, check-in with how you are feeling and see what you need. Keep doing this throughout the day. Learn More at What Is Yoga Self-Care

Here are some ideas of mini-yoga practices you can incorporate throughout your day as and when you feel you need them based on your check-in. Practice before or after breakfast, while you’re waiting for an email, or whenever you can find the time. I’ve organised them by time of day and duration, but you can do them whenever they give you what you need and for however long you’d like. You do not need to do all of these every day! Please add to this list.

Morning Self-Practice

  • Meditation of any duration (1-minute to 20+minutes) Try one of my meditations
  • Invigorating breath practice (1-5 minutes)
  • Joint mobilisation (1-10 Minutes)
  • Dynamic stretching (1-10 Minutes)
  • Self-massage with hands or ball (1-10 Minutes) Try Yoga Foot Ball
  • Flow-based practice (5-45 Minutes) Try AM30-Revisited or Morning Reset
  • Any form of movement, cardio, or strength-based fitness (5-30 Minutes)

Afternoon Self-Practice

Evening Self-Practice

  • Self-compassion check-in based on anything that happened during your day (1-5 Minutes)

  • Reset stretches and self-massage based on any aches and pains that appeared during your day (1-10 Minutes)
  • Face, neck, and shoulder self-massage with hands or ball (5-15 Minutes)
  • Wind-down passive stretching (5-30 Minutes) Try Stretch for 30
  • Wind-down breath and flow practice (5-30 Minutes) Try Breathe and Move and Evening Calm
  • Calming breath practice (1-10 minutes)
  • Restorative pose wind-down (5-20 Minutes)
  • Yoga Nidra (5-30 Minutes)