How To Begin a Home Yoga Practice
Easy and practical tips to begin a yoga practice at home.
How do you start the practice of yoga at home? The answer is not as hard as you think. In fact you can get started with this life changing practice today. Beginning something new can be daunting. But choosing to practice at home doesn't have to be. Read on to find out how.
Set Up Your Space
First things first, decide where you would like to practice. This could be an entire room or simply a spot in your favorite room. In reality you do not need a ton of space for a yoga practice. In fact, that is one of its many appeals. For example, I live on the road full time in a 30 foot RV, my space is limited. Yet I have enough room to roll out my mat with a little space on either side. When the weather is nice you can move your practice outside. For me, this is my preferred space to practice.
All you need is enough room to roll out a yoga mat along with a little space on either side. Try and find a place in your home where you won't be distracted (too much). If you have children or pets a room with a door is ideal. But if that's not an option, have them join in. It is all part of the practice of yoga.
Gather Your Tools
This is an area that will differ from person to person. Some may require more tools than others. Before you go out and buy everything yoga related, look around your home first. There are plenty of items you can use as an alternative to buying a specific yoga tool or prop. I will give some suggestions for what you may need. But just know you may not require all of them.
A yoga mat, is the most important tool for your yoga practice. You could practice directly on carpet but a yoga mat will make your practice much more enjoyable. With hardwoods, it is best to have some cushion instead of practicing directly on the floor. If you are just starting out, there is no need to invest in an expensive mat. Find what works for you without breaking the bank. A thin to medium thickness is best. Too thick and you may have trouble in some of the balancing poses. Go with medium if you have sensitive knees.
The rest of these are optional.
One or two blocks are very helpful tools to bring the floor up to you. To this day I still practice with blocks some days. Alternatives to blocks - thick books or large soup cans work well.
A yoga strap can also be helpful for tight shoulders and hamstrings. On occasion I reach for my strap to assist in my personal practice. Alternatives to a yoga strap - a belt, scarf, or even a large towel.
There are many more tools available to assist you in your practice. Bolsters, blankets, eye coverings, myofascial release balls, foam rollers, and much more. Start with the basics, practice a bit, and add tools as needed. There is no need to spend a fortune to start a yoga practice.
Start Small & Go Easy
For those new to yoga, this will be a different experience from traditional fitness. In yoga, the adage "no pain, no gain" does NOT apply. You want to be gentle with yourself and listen to what your body is telling you. If a pose does not feel right or there is pain, stop doing that particular pose. Not every pose is for everybody. I have been practicing yoga for many years and there are poses not suitable for me. On the other hand allow yourself to be challenged when it feels right to you.
When starting out there is no need to commit to hour long sessions several times a week. Start with smaller time commitments to ensure your practice is sustainable. Even dedicating 15-20 minutes a day for 2-3 days a week is a great place to start. Large time commitments are not necessary to reap the benefits of a yoga practice.
Try Out Free Online Options
These days there are many online options to practice yoga at home. Some are free and others are paid. Most great yoga teachers offer some free classes. This is a great place to begin. Try out different teachers and styles before committing to a paid option. It is always a good idea to see which teachers and styles resonate with you.
With the many options available today, starting a home practice is more accessible and easier than ever before. This is where I recommend starting your journey. Take some classes, try out the poses, and notice how your body and mind feel. Modify or skip poses if needed. That is perfectly fine. Make the yoga practice your own. Take what works and leave behind what doesn't. Yoga can be adapted in many ways.
Beginning a home yoga practice is exciting. Embrace the challenge of something new. There will always be something to learn and you will find your practice evolves with you over time. Find a space to practice, gather the tools you need, start small, be gentle with yourself while allowing for challenge, and try out different practices to find your fit. Most of all, have fun and enjoy this transformative practice.