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Fortunately, yoga can be self-taught, done in the home, and is suited to people managing symptoms such as low motivation and fatigue.
Asanas, or yoga poses, can be practiced for a half hour, or done sporadically throughout the day—one or two at a time. There are standing, lying down, and sitting (floor and chair) asanas making it easy to choose those that suit our energy level on a given day.
Joining a yoga class and being around people can also relieve mental health symptoms, and learning from an expert is the recommended way to acquire yoga basics. Yet, if your schedule or symptoms prevent you from getting exercise outside the house, doing yoga at home is a beneficial and doable option.
To learn yoga, invest in quality beginning yoga DVDs, online classes, video downloads, or books. Learn gradually—assimilate each step as you go to build a solid yoga foundation. You might start with a daily 10 to 15 minute learning/practice session. If cost is an issue, your local library will have yoga books and DVDs, and there are many excellent free yoga demonstration videos on YouTube and other sites.
If possible, create a space in the home for your yoga practice. Any quiet spot that is free from clutter will do. In or near this space you will want to keep your yoga mat and any props you use for asanas (e.g., blankets, straps/belts, blocks, pillows).
If you are fortunate enough to be able to dedicate a space or room to yoga, and can leave your mat always open and ready, it makes starting a practice session easier if you are feeling tired or unmotivated.
However, there are plenty of us who push the cat’s or kids’ toys out of the way and unfurl our yoga mats in the middle of the living or family room. The surroundings may not be too serene, but we can still touch on serenity within.
Practicing yoga alone requires you to be attentive to the body and honor whatever is sensed or felt. This awareness may not come easily to those with a mental health diagnosis, but it will improve with practice.
Besides becoming more tuned-in to the body, doing yoga at home provides other perks as well. At home, there are no other exercising bodies present that we might compare our self to. There is only our body or the present moment to observe, and we are free to personalize each practice session according to our asana preferences, moods, and needs of the day.
We can also move at our own pace when practicing alone. Should a certain pose feel like a slice of heaven we can hold it as long as desired. When an asana is difficult, we can take extra time to practice it or adjust the pose to suit our body type or fitness level.
It is always wise to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise activity, especially if you have a medical condition, or have been sedentary a long time.
Photo credit: Rob Bertholf / flickr
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