The hardest obstacle for most students to starting a home practice is inertia. Here are a few suggestions to overcome initial resistance to creating a daily practice.

Make a commitment! I recommend something along the lines of...

"I promise myself that I will do at least 5 minutes of hatha yoga every day for the next week."

Once you make such a commitment, under no circumstances should you allow this vow to be broken. Your word should be considered sacred, and if violated, you have dammaged your own self esteem. The greatest effort is overcoming inertia, and if you are faced with the prospect of an hour of yoga, it is easy to rationalize that you are too busy, or too tired. But it is much harder to talk your self out of five minutes of yoga. Once you start, five minutes often turns into an hour because you realize it is important and you are enjoying it. On those days that you only do five minutes... for whatever reason, you have still fulfilled your commitment. At the end of the week you get the positive reinforcement of having achieved your goal, and are free to make another similar short term, acheivable commitment, and in the process your self esteem is improving, and you are making an investment in the power of your own word.

Another approach is to 'move beyond the Question' Make your asana practice as much a part of your life as brushing your teeth until you no longer even ask whether you feel like it or have time... you just do it. If you are still asking the question each day, it is only a matter of time before the answer is no!


The true joy of a home practice of Hatha Yoga comes when you are alone, unconscious of time, and are free to explore and follow where your body leads you. In this state, let knowledge take a back seat to direct experience. If you follow one simple rule, you can feel confident that you are practicing yoga safely... move away from discomfort, and move into pleasure. Armed with this simple algorythm, cats are able to stetch in ways that make even yogis envious.

One trick to turning off the intellect and tapping into your animal nature, is to move very slowly, and explore different motions, create your own variations on traditional poses, always moving towards the perfect stretch that releases joy throughout your entire body. Without inhibition, gently move about, imitating animals, dancing, swaying to and throe, swinging, twisting, enjoying the sensuous nature of your own body, getting to know yourself. Breathing and feeling that perfect release with each breath, feeling the wonderful power of breath to bring a pose into focus. Turn inward, measuring perfection in terms of how the pose feels, not how it might look to someone else.

Now You Are Doing Yoga! In this state of joy, return to the traditional poses, and feel them as though for the first time, learning the lessons each pose has to offer, and experiencing the wonder of Hatha Yoga. When you practice the traditional poses in this way you will come to understand why these particular movements have been practiced by people for thousands of years! Above all else... be gentle!

WHEN TO PRACTICE: It is best to practice either first thing in the morning, or just before going to bed. In the Morning the body will be stiff so more care must be exercised, but the rewards are experienced throughout the rest of the day. Practicing in the evening, when the body has already loosened up through the day, is easier and allows for an excellent nights sleep.

WHERE TO PRACTICE: Choose a clean, airy place free from insects and noise. Traditionally they should be performed upon a folded blanket laid on a level floor. It is advisable to establish a routine and stick to it practicing at the same time and place every day. By making it part of your routine, it is more likely you will stick with it, and your body begins to anticipate the practice ahead of time.

Author's Bio: 

Charles MacInerney has practiced yoga since 1971. He has taught over 15,000 students. Charles has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, featured in numerous Yoga Journal articles and is the May 2004 Expert in the Wellbeing column. He leads retreats in Texas, Guatemala, and Mexico. Clients include: IBM; 3M; Apple; UT; Regional; National & International Yoga Conferences. He is co-founder of the LYP Teacher Training Program and the Texas Yoga Retreat. Please visit his website at