5 Tips For A Sustainable Home Practice
by Buffy Owens
One of the most liberating aspects of exploring Feldenkrais® and Mindfulness is that you don’t need fancy equipment or a designated building, or an expanding field of wildflowers to practice. The practices are incredibly accessible and they meet you where you are— as long as you are willing.
Living in the Capital Region of New York, I know that it’s not always possible to make it into a studio for a class. Truth be told, there aren’t a lot of studios in this area that offer Feldenkrais or Meditation. Thankfully that’s slowly changing. And now with technology, we all have bountiful access to classes.
Developing a home practice and committing to it is a profound tool for transforming how you move through life.
As a Feldenkrais Practitioner® and a long-time student of the Meditative Arts, I love to move into stillness with others. There’s something powerful about coming into a space that’s pulsating with a shared intention and experienced practitioners. It’s visceral!
However, it’s often not possible for me to practice with others. So here are some tools that have helped me in my own home practice and that I’ll be sharing in my On-line Courses.
#1 Check-in with how you feel and what you need.
There are thousands of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lessons and there’s a whole array of ways to practice Mindfulness & Meditation. Getting to know the impact that each practice has on the way that you move, think, sense and feel are key to being able to do what you want— when you need it.
For instance, some Awareness Through Movement lessons can leave you feeling energized and centered while others can leave you feeling fully relaxed and ready for a nap. The same is true for Mindfulness & Meditation. There are some practices that leave most people in a similar state…while others are completely individual. I know that for myself if I am feeling really overwhelmed then I need to turn inward and sense my breath. However, if I’m feeling a bit dismal or slightly depressed then tuning into the environment (like the sounds of the birds chirping) has the biggest impact.
#2 Require a minimum of practice for yourself each day.
Even if it’s just 5 minutes, fully commit to 5 minutes of practice. That’s your practice – just that – everything else is bonus time! Start small and nurture your practice with the positive feelings that come when you stick with your commitments.
As a brief side-note on the 5-minute practice, I once had a meditation teacher say,
“You wouldn’t leave the house without brushing your teeth. So why would you leave without giving 5 minutes to attending to your emotional health? We owe it to ourselves and to all those who we come in contact with! Nobody wants to smell your foul breath, or catch a whiff of your foul emotions.”
#3 Sanctify your practice.
Create a spot in your home that is specifically reserved for your practice. You don’t need an entire room for movement & meditation, but you do need enough space to be able to easily lie down with your legs long and have an arms distance out to the sides and above your head. If you don’t have that kind of square footage just waiting for you to make your own, then see if you can find a room where you can easily move furniture out of the way when you’re ready to practice. The family room is often the most accessible.
Keep any minor props you need nearby. For instance, you may want a movement blanket, a few towels tucked away in an ottoman or chest, and maybe a meditation cushion. Add a piece of art, a beautiful plant or candle to mark this as a sacred space for intentional practice. Honor your practice time as sacred and important. Turn off the phone, music, television, and computer. If you are in a house with other people, you may need to set some boundaries by having a conversation with them in order to protect your uninterrupted practice time and space.
#4 Use your resources well.
If you are feeling a little stuck in trying to create a practice all on your own, then find a bit of motivation by reading a book, exploring videos & audios online, or take an online class. Then when you explore a new lesson or meditation, take note. Make a brief outline of the practice that will help you to remember the nuggets and also get clear on how the practice made you feel.
The more you practice consciously, the more your confidence will build. Over time you’ll be able to tap into what it is that you need in the moment to sustain you.
#5 Move with others.
Occasionally, give yourself the gift of working with a teacher and connecting with others. Go in for a few classes, take a workshop, or attend a retreat. This will keep your passion for learning & growing alive, your curiosity thriving, and provide you with new inspiration & motivation. Plus, taking the time to practice with others is IMPORTANT— even if you can only manage it once a month or once a year. Just being in the room with others who practice can deepen your experience in a way that’s hard to generate on your own!