Why A Home Practice Is Important For Beginners
The growing demands on our lives in conjunction with technologys ability to make us accessible 24/7 can leave us feeling overwhelmed and chronically stressed.
Yoga is a mind-body practice that supports slowing down and taking time to tune into the breath amidst the chaos of our lives. This slowing down process triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the relaxation response, and runs directly counter to the fight-flight-freeze response so commonly associated with chronic stress. Additionally, yoga helps to cultivate cardiovascular strength, flexibility, and stamina. If you are a new student interested in starting a yoga practice to dial down the stress or are just attracted to the multitude of benefits that yoga has to offer, starting your yoga practice at home can be simple with the use of online yoga videos. Other streaming sites are out there. New students should look for an online streaming service that offers a variety of styles, especially classes that are tailored to the beginner. Along with finding the right online service, here are 5 easy steps for how to start yoga at home for beginners.
#5 Setting An Intention
If youve been to a teacher-led yoga class, youve had an intention set for that class. Whether the teacher gives you the intention or tells you to set your own, an intention gives your yoga a deeper meaning.
No matter how small your daily intention is, it helps you stay committed to your practice and to yourself.
Sometimes the outside inspiration of a teacher carries more weight than you previously thought, and this is okay! There have been plenty of times where Ive gone to class completely uninspired because life is weighing me down, and my teacher always manages to cultivate an intention that resonates exactly with whatever is bugging me.
Choosing an Intention:
- Make your intention uncomplicated. Yoga was a salve for me when I experienced my biggest heartbreak, and there were quite a few times where I went to my mat with a convoluted intention about mending my heart. After a while, I learned using one single word was enough.
BONUS TIP: I often use words like strength, open, or fun. These are words I can easily access no matter how Im feeling. One words sounds really simple, but one word has the ability to completely change and focus your practice.
Send Your Intention Out Into the World:
If you dont want to focus on whats going on inside, dedicate your practice to someone or something.
- Sick family members
- A friend whos having a rough time
- A group of people suffering from a tragedy
Always Practice with Gratitude:
Which Yoga Poses Should You Do
Some styles of yoga follow a set sequence of specific poses, but many instructors, including Yee, recommend a more open-ended approach, especially when you’re doing yoga at home.
“At home,” he says, “you learn to listen to what your body needs that day, move at your own pace, and develop intuition about what sequences or kinds of yoga poses you want and need to do most on any given day.”
If you are fatigued, you may want to do a more restorative yoga sequence. If you’re feeling energetic, a more flowing, fast-paced or rigorous set of yoga poses may feel more satisfying or help you channel that energy. Many like to do an energizing yoga practice in the morning and a calming restorative practice in the evening.
But listening to what you need is more than a physical thing.
“As you practice your first poses on your own, try to cultivate an attitude of playfulness and acceptance,” says Yee. “Being present during your practice means allowing yourself to be aware of whatever physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts are currently arising. Be creative and spontaneous. If you approach your practice with a sense of curiosity, rather than self-judgment or competitiveness, you will find it easier to motivate yourself to practice and you’ll be more present when you do practice.”
As you advance, you may want to move into more challenging intermediate and advanced yoga poses such as arm balances, inversions and backbends.
Whats The Best Space To Practice Yoga In At Home
There is no perfect setting externally, its about the internal state that you cultivate, says Vertue. Your environment shouldnt deter from that easier said than done, but ultimately thats what youre working towards. Choose a space thats as free from clutter and distraction as possible. If it helps you to set the mood with some incense, sage or a candle, go for it: you can indulge in whatever works, no one is watching. When you inevitably get disturbed by the cat, the kids or the doorbell, press pause and know that you can always come back to it, later in the day or later in the week.
Tips For A Successful Home Yoga Practice
One of the most beautiful and liberating aspects of yoga is that you dont need any fancy equipment or a designated place to practice. Yoga is accessible. The practice meets you where you are as long as you are willing to approach it.
Sometimes its just not possible to make it into a studio for class, and many of us may be stuck in our homes looking for the best way to practice. Regardless, developing a home yoga practice and committing to it is a profound tool for deepening into your own personal relationship with yoga.
As a practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga primarily, I love the self-led nature of a Mysore practice within a group environment. But, it is not possible for me at this time to practice in a shala setting consistently, so here are some tools that have helped me in my home practice of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga.
Types Of Yoga Explained
Rocket, Dynamic Vinyasa and Ashtanga are all high-energy flow, including Insta-worthy moves like arm balances and backbends .
Mandala is pretty dynamic too, moving 360 around the mat, with classes themed around the elements and their corresponding target areas in the body: Water , Fire , Earth and Air .
Jivamukti is also flow, and has a different philosophical or ethical focus each month.
Kundalini aims to stimulate specific mental energy through meditation, mantras, chanting, breathing and movement.
Iyengar is form and alignment focused, using lots of props, and is great for injury rehabilitation.
Hatha, in Sanskrit, is the overarching word for all physical yoga practice but in the Western world it generally refers to a more gentle, accessible flow class.
Yin-Yang follows a similar theme, leading on to Yin, which targets the deep connective tissue between muscles with long-hold poses , to increase circulation to the joints and instil calm.
Nidra goes one further, dropping you into a state of conscious sleep for the ultimate, meditative relaxation .
Hot, and Pregnancy, do what they say on the tin.
And Qi Jong is a lovely offshoot, similar to Tai Chi, which aims for deep restoration via gentle moving meditation and breathing.
Yoga Poses For Beginners
These are simple and definitive guide to beginners aspiring to do yoga exercises in their own space, usually alone. For a beginner, doing Yoga postures is a completely different exercise one that need to be introduced little by little, week by week as you integrate more complex postures gradually.
The goal is to learn basic movements first, one at a time. Then you can link the movements together. Moreover, we have designed a 1 month programme that combines various poses from basic to complex poses which are introduced week-by-week to kick-start your routine. Remember, these are not cast on stone, and can be modified to suit your individual goals and needs anytime;
It Can Help Manage Anxiety
Howe says that the majority of her yoga students initially seek out yoga to help manage their anxiety. She says that the focus on breath work, in particular, makes yoga an effective means to become more present and have some control over your anxiety. When place focus on their breath and how a particular part of their body holding tension receives that breath, a student most often realizes they have control. They can choose how deep to take that pose, how to regress and be kind to the body, as they learn to listen more to what the body has to say, explains Howe. In essence, theyve taken control back, and often that, in and of itself, helps reduce the feeling of anxiety.
Equipment For Doing Yoga At Home
There are a few key items that you should make sure you have in your at-home yoga space before you begin.
A yoga mat is the most important piece of equipment you will need for your yoga practice. Most yoga mats are thin and have a strong grip to ensure you dont slip or slide while practicing.
When choosing your mat, opt for one that feels non-slippery and doesnt roll up while you are practicing.
Yoga blocks are a very helpful tool for assisting you when doing stretching poses or where you need extra stability such as the Half Moon Pose.
It can also help you reach the floor if you are not flexible enough to touch the floor in a forward fold. Yoga blocks come in multiple shapes and sizes, and can be made of foam, cork, or wood.
Similarly to a yoga block, yoga straps can make poses more challenging once you are more advanced. It can also assist in making poses less challenging if you don’t have the ability to stretch or bend far without the assistance of a strap.
You can use a yoga strap in many different ways, however it is commonly used in forward folds and other leg stretches.
Step 3: Practice Basic Yoga Poses
Basic yoga poses form the building blocks for your practice, and are key to both cultivating and sustaining a home practice.
Therefore, you will want to choose poses that you feel attracted to. Basic yoga poses, when done with intention and mindfulness and without judgment or evaluation, can be just as challenging if not more than the more advanced yoga poses. Examples of basic poses include fish pose, cat-cow, downward-facing dog, childs pose, cobra, and plank position. An online streaming service that offers classes tailored to yoga at home for beginners is a great resource for providing instruction on how to practice these poses with pictures to guide the new student.
How Do I Start Doing Yoga At Home
Check if your local studios are offering online streaming classes. This is a great way to support independent Yoga teachers and small local studios, which are extremely vulnerable in the current economic turmoil. If you want to see your studio survive, support them now. Check out our free portal for online Yoga classes hosted by some of our favourite teachers!
If this isnt an option, take this opportunity to explore online Yoga video platforms. These operate on a monthly subscription model but usually offer a one to two week free trial period.
Videos are great because they provide structure, variety, and a predetermined amount of time. If youd rather free-form it, put on your favourite music and start with some Sun Salutations and Standing Pose. Home practice also offers you the opportunity to work on your personal challenge poses, the ones that never seem to progress when you only work on them occasionally in class.
If youve done no Yoga before, you can still start a home practice. Look for a beginners series of videos on any of the major online platforms.
It Can Improve Your Sleep Cycle
Think waking up 30 minutes early to practice yoga will just make you too tired? Studies show that yoga may actually help you sleep deeper and better.
Morning yoga can help regulate your natural sleep rhythm and balance your hormones. Many studies have shown that morning exercise may help sleep. Combined with the fact that a regular sleep schedule, in general, can help improve your sleep, a morning yoga practice can be a powerful way to take charge of your sleeping habits.
How To Start Yoga
First step: decide where you want to start practicing yoga.
Do you want to go to a yoga studio and learn from a yoga instructor, in-person? Does your local gym or health club offer free yoga classes?
Or do you want to learn how to start yoga at home, using yoga videos or a yoga DVD?
Complete yoga newbies gain a lot from visiting a yoga studio. Yoga studios often boast the most experienced yoga teachers, and often offer a class of yoga for complete beginners.
Do a bit of research online. Are there any yoga studios in your area? What styles of yoga do they offer? It can be a bit daunting to read long lists of unfamiliar yoga styles, but dont freak out.
Weve got you covered.
The section below will guide you to choose the beginner style of yoga thats perfect for you.
Get Comfortable In Stillness
Most of us find it very challenging to sit still.
We would rather run around, keep busy, and check items off our to-do list than just be.
Even when we are chilling out, our hands drum on our knees, our thoughts wander to the past or future, or our eyes hungrily scan an iPhone or T.V. screen.
So before you try to bang out the most advanced yoga poses you can find on the pages of Yoga Journal or Instagram, try the most basic tenets of yoga of all, being present.
The next time you’re waiting in line, riding public transportation, or perching on the toilet, notice the temptation to whip your phone out for distraction.
Try to observe the urge rather than immediately give into it.
Yoga For Beginners: How To Start Practicing Yoga At Home
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First, it is a good idea to decide which yoga style is right for you. No need to feel overwhelmed or trapped by your decision. Your preferences may change as you continue to practice, so let this be an experiment. Have fun with your research, and bring as much information into starting your yoga practice as youd like. As a beginner, you have a unique perspective into the world of yoga, so enjoy!
In order to do yoga at home safely and avoid injury, it is essential to prepare properly. Practicing yoga at home is a time to gain a gradual understanding of how your body moves and become familiar with yoga postures. As a yoga beginner, it is important to approach your practice systematically. Whether you are an athlete or new to physical activity, yoga will move your body in unfamiliar ways, so it is imperative to start your yoga practice at home gradually. If you want to learn more about the alignment of the body and ways to approach yoga from the perspective of your bodys anatomy, try Divine Alignment by Guru Prem Singh Khalsa!
There are many wonderful books to support you in your home yoga journey. Yoga books are key to building a solid foundation from which to grow. Kundalini Yoga Sadhana Guidelines is a great book to start your Kundalini Yoga practice.
Finding A Home Yoga Teacher
Your home yoga teacher might be the very same one who teaches your studio classes, via an online platform. Or you decide to start practicing at home using Insight Yoga which gives people access to free, daily live yoga classes from world-renowned instructors. Insight Yoga classes will stream on the apps live platform.
When selecting an online yoga teacher, a good rule of thumb is to choose an instructor with a body or personality like yours. While most instructors will do their best to teach to all levels, each of us ultimately moves in a way that feels good to us. The type of class that feels best in your body will most likely align with a teacher whos body is similar to yours.
On the other hand, a little aspiration never hurts. Dont shy away from leaving your comfort zone. This is a major benefit of practicing yoga at home. You can freely fall from standing balances without bruising your ego, and you can use the pillows from your bed to support your attempts at crow pose. By embracing your newfound freedom to explore and have fun in the privacy of your own home, your practice will expand.
Read more: Explore 4 simple ways to amp up your yoga practice.
Where To Practice Yoga At Home
Candles can make your at-home yoga space feel more inspired.
One of the biggest reasons people dont practice yoga at home is a lack of space. But the reality is that yoga happens from within, and the amount of physical space you need is a lot less than you probably think.
You dont need a special designated room or area to practice yoga. Any little area where you can be on a flat surface will do, said Mishler. Even small spaces can serve as a nice respite for you to tune into the sound of your breath and move your body.
Look for an area of your home where you can roll out a mat and have a bit of extra space surrounding each side. Moving your coffee table into another room might open up some space in front of the couch, or perhaps you can spread out a mat at the foot of your bed. Ideally, the surface would be made of a hard material, like wood or tile, but carpet can work in a pinch.
Wherever you end up carving out space, bring some intention to the area. You could build a small altar and fill it with meaningful items, install moody lighting and hang yoga-themed art on the wall. But these are all extrasnot necessities. Simply lighting a candle can make your at-home yoga practice feel more inspired.
There Are So Many Reasons To Start A Home Yoga Practice
A home yoga practice is much cheaper, private, and time flexible. Those three reasons alone tend to be enough to get people interested in getting on their mat at home. But, especially to the uninitiated, yoga can be intimidating.
One of the biggest questions I get asked is, how do I get started?
First and foremost, you need to change your expectations for what you imagine an at home practice to look like. Most likely, it is not going to have the same vibe and feel as a studio. It is not going to be all om and zen for the simple reason that you wont have a yoga teacher guiding your practice and allowing you to zone out. But it is for this reason that a home yoga practice actually allows for a deeper connection to yourself. At home, you are guiding your practice, choosing the poses, the speed, length, and flow.
Beginning your home yoga practice.
At a yoga studio classes are anywhere from 60 minutes to 90 minutes. And lets be honest, not everyone has that kind of time to regularly devote to their yoga practice. So, when starting your own home practice, start off slowly. Challenge yourself to commit to 10-15 minutes of yoga a couple of times a week. And lets change the word yoga to stretching. Because at the end of the day, thats the bare bones of yoga. Many people find that committing to the idea of stretching before bed a few times a week feels like a much more achievable goal. It helps to remove any perceived expectations of what yoga should look like.
What Style Of Yoga Is Best For A Home Practice
Theres no need to choose one style for a home practice, just try to assess what your body needs that day. Are you looking for a stretch after a heavy week of working out; to ease fatigue after a week of nine-to-five desk sitting and screen time; to calm anxiety and stress; or an uplift in lieu of caffeine?
The joy of yoga at home is that you can select your favourite elements of a few different styles; or choose an online class or app to guide you through . If youre practising without a teacher, start with a short simple routine like a sun salutation A or B to help you memorise it, and practise ad infinitum.
Read more: The 8Best Yoga BlocksFor Added Stability During Your Flow
It Will Set You Up For A Day Of Calm Happiness And Positive Outcomes
A morning yoga practice and help you handle the stress of the day with greater grace and ease. Studies show that yoga acts as a natural antidepressant, helping us produce significantly higher levels of the stress-relieving amino acid GABA. When our GABA production increases, we are better able to handle anxiety and stress.
Step 2: When And Where To Do Your Home Practice
Get clear with what works best for you in terms of when to do your practice , and the location. Life can get in the way.
So, psychologically, it is optimal to set realistic goals and take baby steps as you work your way towards these goals. So, for example, it might be best to set a goal of doing a 20-minute practice for at least 3 days/week for a month. Stay with this goal for one month before thinking about increasing the amount of time or frequency of your practice. With respect to location, find a quiet space if possible where you will have little to no interruptions . And, have your yoga mat, towel, blanket, block, and any other props you might need readily available. Try to make this location your sacred space for the practice.
Step 4: Commitment Commitment Commitment
How do you lay the foundation to stay committed to your practice, even when you feel low, lethargic, or tempted by the many other priorities that eat up your time on a daily basis?
Think about the other commitments you have going on in your life and reflect on how you were able to develop commitment towards these projects. It may also be worthwhile to reflect on why starting a yoga practice is important to you. Get clear about whether you are being guided by your ego, or by something that truly provides meaning in your life.
What Does Yoga Work
One of the greatest benefits of yoga is that it can provide a low-impact, total-body workout. Some poses help increase the strength and flexibility of your arms, shoulders, back, abdominals and core, hips, glutes, and legs.
In yoga, you are using your bodyweight to build strength, tone muscles, and increase your flexibility, explains Brodie. This practice is phenomenal for core strength. With a strong core comes the improvement of posture and reduction of injuries.
Building core strength by breathing into and out of each pose helps support the spine, which encourages good posture, adds Howe. When we stand tall, not only does that affect our joints, it affects our self-esteem. We feel uplifted.
Prepare The Night Before
Make sure you prepare well the night before your practice. Set up your yoga space and go to bed early. Set your alarm so you have enough time to get dressed and enjoy your session without feeling rushed. Dont forget to put out your clothes the night before so youre not scrambling to find yoga pants in the morning.
How Do You Keep Yourself Motivated
The logistics of setting up your home yoga space are simple. The hardest part for most people is simply finding the motivation we can help with that too.
Thankfully, there are a handful of different ways that you can foster a positive yoga environment without leaving the comfort of your home. Here are three tips to help encourage a consistent yoga schedule: