Turning you on to a home yoga practice with Forty Days of Yoga (win!)

Practicing yoga at home can start right where we are

by Kara-Leah Grant

Buy your own copy of Forty Days of Yoga – Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice. Available now.

This year, I knew I’d write a book for The Yoga Lunchbox audience.

I thought it would be a Best of YLB book, but I was wrong. Turns out I had a much better book in me than a rehash of old articles.

Instead, I’ve written a book that gives you everything you need to create your own home yoga practice and stick to it.

After all, I’ve successfully maintained a consistent home yoga practice for eight years, in often trying circumstances.

Developing a home yoga practice was an absolute necessity for me to regain my sanity and centre after having two psychotic episodes in 2004. There were no classes in Glenorchy when I came home to my mother’s house that October, and if I wanted to practice, I had to practice by myself.

In the eight years since, I’ve practiced while holding down two jobs, running a  website and renovating a house.

I’ve practiced through the birth of my son and the break-up of my relationship with his father.

I’ve practiced through single motherhood, and I’ve practiced through shifts and moves from one island to the next and back again, twice over.

Nothing has broken my dedication to practice.

Not the stories the mind tells to keep us from our mat. Not the painful emotions and issues that come up on the mat. Not the life circumstances that make getting to the mat difficult. I’ve always found a way.

I know how to shape and arrange my life so yoga is an integrated part of everything I do.

As I listen to the people around me, it seems that other people want what I’ve got. They want a regular home yoga practice.

They just don’t know how to make it happen.

I do – so I’ve taken everything I’ve learned in the last eight years about creating and sticking to a home yoga practice and turned it into a book – Forty Days of Yoga – Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice.

Practicing yoga daily keeps us centred, clear and aligned. Life gets easier. Who doesn’t want that? 

I have four Blessed Beta Readers providing feedback on the manuscript. One of those readers, Sara Foley, was so inspired by the book that she’s already launched into her Forty Days of Yoga, and is blogging about the experience on her website, Smells Good, Feels Good.

I’m beaming with joy because Forty Days of Yoga has already worked it’s magic. One person who wanted a home yoga practice now has a home yoga practice.

Now I want to get a copy of Forty Days of Yoga into your hands so it can work for you too. Here’s how:

(Note: The book is going to initially be released electronically. When there’s sufficient sales and demand, we’ll go to print.)

1. Sign up for the Forty Days of Yoga list (list now closed). The day the book launches, you’ll be the first to know and I’m going to give away three copies of the book to people on the list. Just because.

2. Leave a comment on this article. I’m giving away an advance copy of Forty Days of Yoga to one person who comments before 5pm December 5th NZ time. In your comment, answer one or more of these questions:

  • Do you have a home yoga practice?
  • Do you want a home yoga practice?
  • What stops you from practicing yoga at home?
  • How would a home yoga practice change your life?

3. Finally, answer Yes to all of the below and receive an advance copy of Forty Days of Yoga 

A) Do you have a yoga tribe of your own with a loyal following (blog, website, facebook, twitter, Google+, )?
B) Do you want to read the book, put it into practice, and talk to your tribe about your experience?
C) Can you start your Forty Days of Yoga practice by January 1st?
D) Yes? Send me an email telling me who you are, why you want to do the practice, and who your tribe is.

Best thing so far about writing this book? My own home yoga practice has got a whole lot juicier, and so has my life. Forty Days of Yoga – buy it now.

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi KL, I hope you don’t mind a long answer, I’ll stick to one question for the sake of not going on forever!

    “What stops you from practicing yoga at home?”
    I started a daily home practice in April and it was great for about 6 months. Then a few different factors (injury, illness, travel) stopped me for a month and I’m just starting up again – and I’m struggling. The main issue is I’m finding myself spread too thin. I teach Pilates, so it’s important I maintain a practice in that. I also love running and rock-climbing and I have what I feel are important social groups built around those two activities. I fell in love with Ashtanga yoga but my body couldn’t handle that much activity and I felt like I was constantly throwing balls in the air and not catching them.

    I wasn’t practising yoga, and I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t ‘putting the effort in’.

    This week I’ve realised that I can’t do everything and shouldn’t push myself to be something I’m not. I need some gentle in my life, and I’ve decided that’s going to come from my yoga. Yes, I may do a half primary once or twice a week, but I promise to listen to my body properly and give it what nourishes it, not what strains and stresses it. Then perhaps when I roll out my mat it will be with joy rather than a sense of guilt!

    This sounds like a fab book, I’m sending you an email as well :)

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Diane,

      Awesome to hear from you. You bring up an important point about our yoga practice, and something I look at in detail in the book. Often we have an idea of what our practice ‘should’ be like, or what we ‘want’ it to be like… but that should or that want doesn’t provide us with what we need. Our yoga practice is something that nourishes us, supports us and provides us with what we need. Otherwise we find it difficult to stick to… just as you’ve experienced.

      Thanks for your comment – you’re in the draw for a copy of the book.

  2. Amanda Griffiths says

    I don’t have a home yoga practice at the moment because I’m going to classes everyday. I’d like to have one though for the times when I’m traveling and especially for the Christmas break when my studio will be closed. What stops me is not really knowing what to do. Without having a teacher to provide the correct sequencing I’m a bit lost. Sometimes I try just to do a few asanas that I can remember, but after a few minutes I’ve petered out and I don’t know where to go to next. I usually go to class around midday but having a home practice would mean that I could do a short practice before going to bed. Which would help me wind down for sleep, especially if I have been out for the evening.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Amanda,

      That’s probably the biggest barrier to a home yoga practice – not knowing what to do! It’s great you’re trying anyway, with the asana you do remember. That’s where it starts. Have you ever done Yoga Nidra? That’s an awesome yoga practice for right before bed. And no need to remember what to do… it’s a recording you meditate to while listening. Can be extraordinarily powerful.

      Great to read your comment, and welcome to the draw!

    • Andrea says

      Have you ever tried yoga podcasts? I built an entire practice based on yoga podcasts and was fully prepared when I went to yoga teacher training. You can download them from itunes and there are many different teachers and styles to choose from. Plus, most of them are free!

  3. Crystal Purdy says

    Hi Kara -Leah,
    This sounds so useful. I love my ‘me’ time from 6-8 a.m. every morning. Its the best part of the day.. I do a bit of Qigong, a bit of yoga, a bit of meditation and whatever takes my fancy. It’s all a bit vague but I love it. Having a programme to follow would really suit me and I would definitely stick to it.. It would be great to pass on to my classes who generally do nothing in between although they would love to. Will email you and good luck with the launch.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Crystal,

      It sounds like you already have a wonderful home practice established! Forty Days of Yoga is about what it takes to do that and stick to it. There isn’t a prescribed “programme” as such, although there is plenty of guidance on how to put one together.

      Those hours from 6 – 8am are magic aren’t they?

  4. Keryn squires says

    Hi Kara-Leah,
    Thanks for the work and effort you are putting in for all of us budding home yoga wannabes. I have been doing yoga for about 8 years, starting with hot yoga and then moving to the more gentle yin yoga. Until a year ago I was going to classes every week regularly. Financially I am unable to afford that right now so I told myself that I would begin a home practice…surely if I could go 2-3 times a week I could easily just jump on my mat at home…couldn’t I?
    My mat sits lonely and unused beside my bed and my mind tells me I am in the yoga space while my body is letting me know loud and clear that nothing is happening! Well, not entirely nothing…I do 20 minutes of gentle back stretches in the warmth of my bed before I get up each morning. All I need do is roll out of bed onto my ready set up mat…
    Keryn

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Keryn,

      It sounds like you’ve got a great foundation for a home yoga practice. Twenty minutes of gentle stretches in bed is a wonderful way to start the day. Sometimes embracing and accepting that what we’re doing is good enough (something I talk about in the book) creates space that allows new practice to arise. We don’t need to be on a mat to be practicing!

  5. says

    Do you have a home yoga practice?
    No
    Do you want a home yoga practice?
    Yes
    What stops you from practicing yoga at home?
    Being uncertain on what do do, am I doing it right, am I going to injure myself – my own head really
    I just need to start. I can sit crossed legged for 5 minutes, that would be a start…
    How would a home yoga practice change your life?
    I love yoga but I have not attended a class for a year – same old procrastinating reasons. Too busy, too tired etc. All the reasons I should go. But to know how and what to do at home would be wonderful and I’m so looking forward to your book KL.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Shelley,

      Oh the head, the head! How it gets in the way eh? And it sounds like you have a wonderful idea of how to start… sitting cross-legged for five minutes. Doing that, while breathing consciously will drop you into yoga and who knows what may naturally arise after that?

  6. Jessica Harris says

    Hi there,

    So… How would a yoga practice at home change my life? I have always had a yearning to try it, to be still in my over flowing and hectic world.

    I recently read “Rushing Women’s Syndrome” and was saddened to see myself in the pages, running from one day to the next… Getting it done, making it through, managing work, a toddler, partner, friends.

    It said to try yoga. Everything around me screams at me to try yoga.

    I tried it once. It isn’t easy for an overweight person (well, my BMI would say I was obese actually) to be elegant or graceful. I stood in the back of the class and couldn’t get into the positions, I couldn’t keep up and I just felt fat and disgusting and sad that I had always wanted to do it and had just found out that I was too fat for yoga.

    So how would my life change? If I gave it another go, i would hope i realised im not too fat to try again, I’d find answers and inner calm, I’d have a chance to slow down and refocus my mind, I’d be less tired, more patient. And who knows… At the end of 40 days I might find who I see in the mirror a bit more beautiful!

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Jessica,

      Thank you for your comment and sharing where you’re at. One of the biggest difficulties of group yoga classes is that they’re not targeted specifically for our individual needs. One of the biggest benefits of a home yoga practice is we can practice exactly what it is we need.

      Nobody is too fat for yoga, or too old, or too inflexible. Yoga starts with the breath and goes from there. We can all breathe consciously and pay attention to what arises in our body as we do so.

      Sometimes, the best way to work out what yoga we need to do is sign up for a few one-on-one sessions with an exceptional yoga teacher. An exceptional teacher can tailor a practice just for us, so we know our physical needs are being met, and possibly even our mental and emotional needs.

      So stay the course Jessica, if you want to practice yoga, you will be able to, one way or another. In the meantime, see if you can get your hands on a Yoga Nidra recording. It’s an excellent way to end the day, before you go to sleep at night, listening to a half hour yoga nidra. It’s mindful meditation, breath awareness and body awareness all rolled into one. It will help with all the rushing around, and it’s something anyone can do, without a teacher.

      Anahata Retreat, here in New Zealand, sells this Nidra CD:
      Yoga Nidra
      With Devamani
      This CD includes two practices of Yoga Nidra. The gentle guiding voice of Devamani with music accompaniment guides the practitioner into a relaxed state.
      Price: NZ$30
      http://www.anahata-retreat.org.nz/wiki/tiki-index.php?page=CDs

  7. Susan Kitson says

    Hi Kara-Leah,

    I do have a yoga home practice, that I love. I am blessed enough to have a dedicated yoga space, just a tiny room off the garage suitable for one person – me! I can escape from the children, the dishes, and the housework each morning (usually before the rest of the house stirs) and ease into my body. Feeling it come awake in concert with my mind is something I never grow tired of.

    Yoga was vital in my recovery from being paralysed, and it is very rare that I will miss an opportunity to practice. Can’t wait to read your book Kara-Leah ad pass it on to others struggling to start their own yoga practice.

    Love and Laughter,
    Susan

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Susan,

      Oh I want to know more! I love hearing stories from people who’ve found yoga a valuable part of their healing experience. Having a dedicated yoga space, no matter how small, definitely helps with maintaining a practice. There’s something special about a space we only use for yoga & meditation.

  8. Cathy says

    Fantastic idea. Funnily enough I started a 40 days of yoga practice early last year as I heard it takes 40 days to make or break a habit… Seemed to work as I manage to practise before work (and kids waking) during the week with a class on a Saturday morning if I am able. Just can’t do a savasana in the mornings as I risk falling back to sleep :)

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Cathy,

      Great to hear that 40 days of practice helped you establish a habit . Are you still practicing regularly? How do you close your practice since savasana is off-limits?

      • Cathy says

        Yes, I am practicing 5 mornings a week with a class on Sat if I can. I end my morning practice with a short meditation in vajraasana.

        • Kara-Leah Grant says

          Hey Cathy,

          What a great practice! It’s so valuable to continue going to a regular class, while maintaining your own home practice. Best of both worlds in so many ways.

  9. Angela Wilson says

    This sounds like just what I need! Severe morning sickness saw me stop attending regular classes 9 months ago, but now that baby #2 is 5 months old, I’m rearing to go again. However, between breastfeeding, teething and a touch of “sleeping on mum’s the BEST”, I’m finding it difficult to get out the door on time! I don’t have a home practice mainly because I’m juggling an infant with a busy almost-3-year-old, but also because I’ve always relied on the assistance of a teacher for adjustments etc, and therefore I’m not sure where to start. However, with my oldest starting kindy next year, and the recognition that I need yoga in my life, I’d love to start practising at home, and your book would definitely make that an easier process.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Angela,

      Parents do such an incredible job! And yes, it’s much easier to maintain a home practice with kids. The moment my son falls asleep for a nap (which is not often these days) I stop and at least do twenty minutes of meditation. Plus I’ve found keeping up the yoga has made parenting that much easier. Making the transition from relying on an external teacher to trusting our internal teacher is a big leap. It can help when we realise our internal teacher is just a beginner… while our external teacher often had years of experience :-) With that realization comes the understanding that our home practice might be simple and straight forward to begin with – a few sun salutations and savasana. Over time, as we learn more, our home practice develops and changes. It’s when we expect to do the same practice at home as we do in class straight off the bat that it seems daunting and impossible.

  10. Emma Davis says

    Hi Kara-Leah,

    I used to have a home practice and I was practicing most days for at least half an hour sometimes up to an hour and a half a day. I loved it. Then life took over. Things got very busy at work and I was physically exhausted so just couldn’t motivate myself to get my mat out. I even convinced myself I didn’t have time for yoga nidra (yet had time to check facebook)

    I am determined to start up a regular home practice and would like some advice on what to do, how to slot it in and how to keep it going when you go through challenging times in your life. Can’t wait to read the book. Well done you!

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Emma,

      Great to read your comment. The book can’t give concrete advice on what to do, as everyone’s needs for a home yoga practice are different. What I can do however is give you tools for work out for yourself what your yoga practice needs to look like in order to support you in your life. Plus there’s a whole chapter on fitting yoga into your life… with lots of tips & tricks. Even more interesting, we look at why we’re often convinced we don’t have time for yoga, yet have time for Facebook… I see that in my own life and my own practice and it fascinates me endlessly!

  11. says

    Congratulations KL, you made it through the melting down of the old expectation around the book, and here you are, helping others create the change you have so appreciated in your own life. Namaste, and many blessings. And I still have my office practice, and it still works wonders for me. Much love!

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Maddy,

      It definitely took courage to pull the plug on such a public project as the Pledge Me Campaign for the Best of YLB Book. But I could feel that wasn’t the book I needed to put time and energy into writing, nor the book that the yoga community needed. Even so, I was surprised at how fast this book popped into my mind and wrote itself!

      I love your home practice in the office!

  12. Tash says

    since about maybe 2 years ago i slowly stopped doing yoga everyday. my practice became less frequant after meeting my now ex just because being my first love i was so excited i kinda put all my energy into the relationship and nothing else. then around december 2011/january 2012 my yoga practice came to an almost complete stop. my whole life started to feel as though it started to fall apart.
    i finished high school and was shit scared about ‘the real world’ and i didnt know what i was doing with my life, people i knew started getting terminal illnesses and i started to feel guilt of never getting to know them and sadness, after rehabilitating my dog’s leg for 6months and he’d finally almost gotten better his other leg got the same injury (torn cruciate), so decided that we could not let him suffer anymore. i was very close to the dog so i was devastated. my relationship started to fall apart.
    then in january was the last straw. i was involved with an accident in where a diesel tanker jackknifed and we collided with it. seeing the tanker almost as tho in slow motion and all i could think is ‘i’m going to die’. fortunately, none of us were seriously injured physically, but mentally i was.. after seeing an orthipedic consultant and because of the pain in my hips (contusion injury from accident) i found an excuse to stop doing yoga, for good. but really, the real reason was i knew that if i got on my yoga mat, i would have to deal with my problems again (like i had done when i’d begun yoga 5 years prior).
    now, im better than i was, happier, hip pain is pretty much gone, but still no yoga.. i feel something is missing. although im still on my spiritual journey, i have started losing faith i guess. even if i dont win the book, some advice about starting up my home practice again would be appreciated. im terrified about getting on my mat bcoz im afraid of what il find within myself/face my issues

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Wow Tash! That’s a lot of difficult transitions in a short time.

      It sounds like you know how powerful yoga can be, hence having that understanding of the necessity of facing ourselves when we come to our mats. It’s great you’re already conscious of that reason for not practicing. Many of us haven’t got to that point yet. We can feel resistance to practice and we don’t know why.

      I’d suggest starting with a kind, compassionate, grounding and gentle practice that holds you. Even something as small as Child’s Pose for five minutes followed by Corpse Pose for five minutes. This allows you space to be on the mat, with your breath while being held by the earth beneath you. If/when emotions are arise, you can continue to breathe in position and build up the strength to allow the emotions to pass through you and release down into the ground.

      Many blessings,
      KL

  13. Wendy says

    Hello! I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on this book! I have been doing yoga for the past five years, but always at a studio in the U.S with an instructor I adored. Four months ago we moved back to NZ and to Muriwai Beach, a place with no studio. What I thought was the worst thing ever actually turned out to be a huge gift. Now I do yoga every day instead of “60 minutes three times a week”. I live it all day…and I’m slowly learning to become my own instructor. Your book will help me so much in this!

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Wendy,

      Congratulations on making the shift from classes to a home practice. It’s a difficult leap at times. Sounds like you’re well on your way to a regular home practice. I love practicing beside the ocean… as long as it’s not too windy!

  14. says

    What a lovely, interesting bunch of readers you have Kara-Leah! For me, 2 weeks into my 40 days of yoga, I have re-evaluated many of the reasons I told myself that I didn’t have a regular daily yoga practice – too far from classes, no transport, no money, no time, no space, not disciplined enough, etc etc. Actually while some of those reasons were actually true ;), the real reason was that I did not think that I was worth it. I felt guilty and selfish for prioritising my yoga practice within my life. Once I identified that idea in my mind and looked at it, brought it tot the light so to speak – it just disappeared. Good luck everyone :)
    PS Kara-Leah’s book is awesome – you are so going to love it!

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Sara,

      I love how you’ve distilled all of those surface reasons down into one core reason – am I worth it? That’s what the book is all about. It’s great having you already going through the process, after having read the book, and watching how it plays out.

  15. Kara-Leah Grant says

    Ok commenters! There are 16 of you (including Rufina’s trackback) so I’m doing a Random Number Generator, which will spit out a number for me. I’ll count down from the top using that number… and the person I stop on wins a book.

    Drum rolllllllllllll…..

    And the winner is…. Commenter #12. Tash.

    Congratulations Tash – I’ll send you an email and when the book is launched, you’ll get a free copy. Thanks everyone else for your awesome comments, lovely to hear from you all!

    Blessings,
    KL

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