When you start your yoga journey, you’ll have difficulty getting into some poses. You’ll lose your balance and fall over. You won’t be as flexible or strong as you want to be. That is to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up. Yoga isn’t a contest to see who can get into the most challenging poses the fastest. It’s a journey of self-discovery.
Yoga has entered the mainstream and many people around the world recognize the benefits it can have on both physical and mental health. If you are curious about yoga and interested in starting your practice at home, this guide is for you.
Millions of people practice yoga at home every day. There are a variety of reasons to practice at home. Whether you’ve decided to practice yoga at home because you don’t have access to a yoga studio, don’t have the time or funds to attend a class, or simply feel uncomfortable trying something so new around others this post will give you the information you need to start a solid at-home practice.
First, let’s start with the basics.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is a practice that combines the inhalation and exhalation of breath with movement. It began in northern India more than 5000 years ago as a spiritual practice to train mind and body. It is a method to truly see yourself and by so doing truly see the world around you. The combination of breath and movement and meditation is used as a way to connect to higher consciousness.
Today many ignore the spiritual aspects of yoga to focus on the physical. No matter what brings you to the practice know that as it becomes part of your life it will infuse itself in your day-to-day existence. You will not just see the physical benefits from your yoga practice but will also see mental benefits. Yoga is a journey and when you set your foot on the path you will not want to turn back.
The Benefits of Yoga
There are many benefits to starting a yoga practice. The physical benefits can be quite obvious. You need strength and flexibility to get into yoga poses and hold them. As you practice you will build strong lean muscles that will not only support you in your practice but decrease the risk of injury in your daily life. You will find that over time your flexibility will improve as well your balance.
Besides the physical benefits of the practice, there are also mental benefits. Yoga can help you manage anxiety and change the way you respond to stressful situations. It can also ease chronic pain and help you get a better night’s sleep. Here’s a list of things yoga can help and links to studies about them for you to reference.
- Builds strength
- Increases flexibility
- Manage stress and anxiety
- Improve sleep
- Decreases chronic pain
- Lowers blood pressure
- Eases back and neck pain
- Helps with headaches
- Increases your overall sense of well-being
These are just a few of the many benefits of practicing yoga.
What You Need to Start Practicing Yoga
Because we live in a consumer society there is an emphasis put on what people “need” to practice yoga. You could spend hundreds of dollars on yoga clothes, a mat, and all the accessories, but in reality, early practitioners had none of that. What they had was a dedication to the practice and an open mind and heart willing to learn. That is all you really need, but there are a few things most people practicing yoga in the modern age usually have.
When you practice you need a surface that you won’t slip on. That’s what a yoga mat does besides providing you with a little bit of cushion.
Don’t get hung up on which yoga mat to buy. When you’re starting out, any will do.
If you don’t have one you can use a small flat woven rug.
The primary purpose of a mat is to help you be able to stay in positions like downward facing dog without slipping.
Yoga blocks are useful to give you added support in some poses. If you don’t have yoga blocks you can use thick books in their place.
A yoga strap is also helpful but can easily be substituted with a belt or scarf.
When you practice, be sure to wear clothes that allow you to move through your full range of motion. You do not want to feel restricted in any way while you are practicing.
These yoga accessories can all be useful to have, but you don’t have to break the bank to get them. Stick to the most basic versions in the beginning. If you can’t get them all that doesn’t matter. What matters is having the desire to practice.
How To Start Your Practice?
When you’re first starting out it’s best to have some guidance. Online yoga classes have become an important tool for people looking to start practicing at home. Through the use of online yoga classes, you can learn from expert teachers from around the world. There are no limitations to the style of yoga you can learn.
Joining an online yoga website like Omstars can give you access to thousands of classes and many different teachers who are eager to share the benefits of yoga with you.
Below is an example of an online yoga class for beginners that you can use to get started.
Tips to be successful at practicing yoga at home
Now that you’re on your way to starting an at-home yoga practice here are some tips to keep you going.
Set Aside Time to Practice
Decide how often you want to practice. Maybe you only want to practice a few days a week. Maybe you only have a few minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if you have an hour or only 10 minutes, setting aside that little bit of time to do a few poses will help you get into the habit of practicing regularly.
Listen to Your Body
Many of us are used to ignoring the cues our body sends us. That is not something you want to do in yoga. Listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain or pinching back off. Always pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don’t push yourself too far. Yoga is not a contest to see who can get into the most difficult pose the fastest. Yoga is a journey of self-discovery. Self-discovery can only happens when you truly listen.
Be Kind to Yourself
When you start out, you’ll have difficulty getting into some poses. You’ll lose your balance and fall over. You won’t be as flexible as you want to be or as strong as you want to be. That is to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s difficult.
Poses have modifications that you can use to make them more accessible to what your body can do at the moment. Over time as you practice what your body can do will change.
Be kind to yourself in your practice. You’re not doing this to punish yourself. You’re doing this to learn, connect, and find a greater sense of well-being.
As you move forward on your at-home yoga journey remember that you are not alone. There are many people practicing at home just like you. They use online yoga classes to help them at every step along the way. Here’s what one member of Omstars had to say about her membership.
Omstars is an amazing tool and has been a huge help for me in developing a safe and insightful home practice as well as helping me continue my journey into the yogic state of mind, offering insight on anatomy and scripture that has been like having my very own satsang!
If you’re interested in learning more about practicing yoga with the assistance of online teachers sign up to get a free beginners class class that will help you get started.