7 Tips for a Successful Home Practice

May 26th, 2020

Whether you are practising yoga, Pilates, break dancing, or general strength work, where you set yourself up to train can heavily impact you throughout your session. So you need somewhere that works with you, not against you and your overactive brain. Here are my top tips for success. You may well have considered all of these things, but have you actually actioned them?

1. Find a quiet space away from distractions

Hhhhmmmm, no distractions….. Sometimes we are limited to the space that we actually have available to us, and we cannot be picky about where it actually is and what is around us. So how can you be creative to make a distraction-free space?

Leave your phone in a different room – argh, but I need it to play music from and know the time – okay so pop your phone on ‘aeroplane mode’ or ‘do not disturb’ and set a timer for the time you need to stop practising or training. Then you do not need to look at your phone, you can relax, this is your time.

Other people, family, kids and even pets can all be a distraction. Can you shut the door on them for an hour? Can you tell them to leave you alone unless the house is burning down or someone has hurt themselves? Set boundaries. This is a good skill to practice. You deserve time to be on your own, if you let others steal your time all the time then where is your opportunity to just be you go? Put a sign on the door saying ‘go away’, or wear your ‘don’t talk to me’ t-shirt (I want to get that printed, ha).

What else d you get distracted by? Sometimes the hair on my yoga mat….well that’s an obvious fix – cut it all off, and then none can fall out. Ha, what I meant to say was just have a quick clean up of the area first. Turn the TV off, or cover it with a blanket. Often the solutions are straight forwards, but we just like to use them as an excuse.

Importantly, you just want your space to be away from what stresses you out.

2. Set the mood for your workout

If you are doing yoga or Pilates, try putting on some music that helps you to relax. This is a personal preference, some people love cheesy pop music, others like experimental dance music. If you are doing some high energy exercise, or even a power yoga practice, then more energetic music would work for you. Drum n bass does it for me if I am intending on getting my heart rate up.

Change the lighting, if possible. Maybe dim the lights for yoga or light some candles, or pop your portable disco lights on if you want to energise and sweat (they can produce a lot of heat).

What about the smell? Can burning essential oils or incense heighten the experience? Can you replace any awful smells with awesome smells? Maybe setting yourself up next to the litter tray isn’t the greatest idea, or practising at the same time that someone is cooking a fragrant meal.

By creating the right mood for your workout it will feel like you are in the right place, you will become less distracted, and it will be fully present in the moment.

3. Plan this in to your day

Maybe the night before, or in the morning when you are drinking your tea or coffee, plan when you are going to practice/ exercise.

Making the commitment to yourself can sometimes be all you need to make sure you do it. Telling someone else your plan further commits you.

Decide a time and write it in your diary, or post it on your fridge. Block your work calendar out for that time so no one can book a meeting in with you. Do it!!!

Maybe the time becomes a regular time each day, or maybe it has to change to give you a better environment to practice/exercise in. Creating a routine around it ensures that you stick to it with minimal effort. Wouldn’t it be great to not have to talk yourself in to it all the time? Well, you don’t have to.

4. Plan what you are going to do

Well, within reason, because it really depends on what you are doing. In terms of fitness and strength work, yes, have a plan of what you want to do, as this helps you to stick with a progressive plan and stops you talking yourself out of going heavier or doing more reps, as an example.

I also find that planning cardio and conditioning workouts the night before doing them works better for me. I can then decide on what I should do without my own emotions and essentially self doubts creeping in to tell me not to bother. So it is much easier planning that the night before.

In terms of yoga and Pilates, I like to just go in with an intention and work with how my body feels in that moment. I intent to be creative, I intend to help my legs find ease, or I intent to be kind to myself. Maybe I’ll just work with a theme of connecting to the hip flexors, or strengthening hip abduction and adduction. Just having a thought about what you want to do opens up the possibilities to be creative and free with what you are doing.

Just a note, plans can be a little overrated at times, if we are unable to stick to the plan for whatever reason, we can feel disappointed in ourselves and in our workout. So just listen to your body, if it doesn’t want overload right now, doing overload work is not going to benefit you in any way whatsoever.

5. If you don’t know what to do, ask for help

Following online classes, tutorials, seeking help from a coach or teacher can all help. That way you don’t have to think, you just need to turn up. I am not an expert in accountancy, so I have an accountant. If you are not an expert in fitness, yoga, Pilates, callisthenics, etc, go to someone that lives and breaths by it, they have done the research so that you don’t have to. And even if you are an expert, doing what someone else has told you to do is really awesome, and you get to learn something as you go. I love attending other people’s yoga and Pilates classes, and I have a Weightlifting coach myself, despite being one. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help or attending a class, for the social interaction alone is worth it.

6. Practice, practice, practice

Remove the expectations you or others have set upon yourself and just enjoy your movement. If we can’t do something and really feel that we should be able to do it, it can massively affect our mood. Why do it to yourself.

If today is not the day, it’s not that day, maybe the sun is in the wrong place in the sky, or there is too much humidity in the air, some days are just not strong days, some days we are stiffer than others, some days we are just too tired. And you know what, it really doesn’t matter, if it doesn’t work for you right now, move on, you tried, why irritate yourself when you can do something that makes you feel better?

Sounds simple, but when you are in that mind frame that you should be abe to do something it isn’t as easy as you’d expect to just walk away and move on. What is easier is if you acknowledge this as an action before you work out, and have it as a constant rule, if it doesn’t work after a few attempts, move on. It is then easier to recognise this behaviour when it happens and you can decide if you want to move on or not. Maybe you are having the time of your life trying to handstand, even though it really isn’t working, so no need to stop if you are having fun. That is what life is all about after all.

Remember that ‘failure’ is a step closer to success. It is not a bad thing. Making mistakes helps us learn. What we can control is how we react to failure. If we accept it calmly we can learn from it, if we get angry or upset it has negative annotations and we fail to learn, which may even send you backwards, but certainly puts a block on what you are trying to do.

7. Listen to your intuition

This can be tricky, sometimes forcing yourself to move when you don’t really want to can make you feel better and turn everything around. Although sometimes it can make your mood worse. So really this tip is about learning to understand yourself. Are you making excuses, or do you just need some rest? I have this argument with myself all the time. Sometimes it turns out that I am just being lazy, other times I feel myself getting further angered because my technique is off, and I leave the workout more pissed off than when I started.

Trial and error works here to establish this with yourself. If I am being lazy I will notice that I have the energy, I just tell myself that there are more important things that need to be done first, like writing this blog for example. If I notice that my body feels tired and weak then there is no point in exercising, as I will get annoyed with myself, so I’ll go for a short walk instead, nothing strenuous, but it is at least something.

I’d never tell you that you should always exercise and that you will always feel better for it afterwards, because that is not always the case, but it does depend on YOU. Work out what works for you and do that, there is no right or wrong and you know yourself better than anyone else knows you, so go be you.

I’d love for you to share with me what tips you also have, or your thoughts on the above. Looking forward to the chats 🙂

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