With the spread of COVID-19 continuing, like many others, I’m taking steps to limit opportunities where the virus could be spread and will be taking my yoga classes online for the time being.

Practising at home can throw up some challenges (pets and kids just love to join in!) so I’ve put together this short guide to help you get the most from your sessions at home.

1 - Guard Your Time

Put your hand up if you’ve ever said you’re going to do some yoga at home and never got around to it (hand up emoji) – yup me too! In contrast, when we book on to a yoga class at a physical venue, we put the date and time in our diaries and guard that time as best we can. Sure, we still might miss the odd session now and again, but scheduling things really helps us to show up.

If you want to stick to your yoga practice, treat your home sessions in the same way you would an in-person class. Put it in your diary, arrange childcare if you need and guard that time.

2 - Find What Works for You

Although it’s great to try and keep to a schedule where possible, one big benefit of practising at home is that you don’t have to find a class time that fits – you can practice whenever is most practical for you and be flexible if you need. If doing the session later on when the kids have gone to bed works better, go for it. I’m running my sessions as live streams at my usual class times, but the recorded version will also be available afterwards if you need.

3 – Use the Best Space You Can

Have a look around the house and have a think about where is going to work best. If you live with others and it’s possible to do so, choose a space that people won’t need access to while you're practising.

Size wise, all you really need is space to fit your yoga mat on the floor (ideally with some spare space around it). If space is tight, go carefully with expansive poses and make sure you’re not going to meet any obstacles when you stretch out (furniture, low ceilings etc.). If you need, make expansive poses smaller than normal or miss them out.

4 - Make Your Space Welcoming

Make your space as welcoming as possible. Give it a quick tidy and make any adjustments to lighting and temperature to feel as comfortable as you can. If that’s not possible, make sure you have extra layers to stay warm, or use an eye bag for relaxation periods in rooms with bright lights.

5 - Get Technology Sorted First

If your classes are being run using a technology you’re not familiar with, make sure you get it set up before the class starts. I’m using Zoom for my classes which is fairly straightforward to use on a smartphone or computer, but it can still take a few minutes to get it set up. If you’re attending a live stream, it would be a good idea to get their 10 minutes early so you can download any software you need and be ready and relaxed when the class begins.

6 - Allow for Things Not to be Perfect

There are always going to be distractions in yoga. In a group class it might be someone walking in late or the person next to you snoring in savasana. Although they might be different to the ones in class, there is also bound to be distractions when you practise at home. No matter how well you plan ahead, whether it’s turning off notifications, arranging childcare or putting your dog in a different room, things may still come up. Maybe the dog starts barking, or the neighbour’s TV is on really loud or there’s a knock at the door.

The best way to deal with distractions is to remind yourself that they are normal and ok. If there’s nothing you can do about it, just let them be part of your practice. The more we focus on distractions or try to fight them, the more frustrating and distracting they can become! And if something comes up that you have to attend to, don’t stress, you can always pause your session or come back to it another time. Life happens, it’s ok.

7 – Buddy Up

This one may not be for everyone, but if you have space and enjoy doing yoga with a friend, why not do your home practice together? Not only can it be nice to have some company, scheduling in your practice with a friend gives you an extra push to stick to it. If you have a big space (particularly a quiet one) and have a friend who might struggle to find space at home, why not invite them over.

Obviously, with anti-coronavirus measures at play, a buddy-up might not be appropriate for everyone. This is especially true if you fall into the high-risk category, live with someone who does, or are self-isolating. Or maybe you just prefer having your yoga time to yourself – that’s ok too.

Are you practising at home during the outbreak? Let us know in the comments and share any of your own tips and tricks.