How to Start Doing Yoga at Home: A Guide to Home Practice for Beginners
One of the most wonderful things about yoga is that you can practice it anywhere. In group classes, you get the benefit of your teacher’s instruction and feedback, as well as a sense of community, but the cost of those classes can add up and they don’t always fit your schedule.
You can do yoga at home much more affordably any time you want. However, that very flexibility can be a stumbling block. Finding a practice routine that works for you and getting on a regular schedule are the keys to sticking with it. Here’s what you need to know to remove the obstacles and get your home practice started.
How to Practice at Home with Videos
Following a led class via video can provide structure and motivation to your fledgling home practice. Once upon a time, people bought yoga DVDs (or even VHS tapes!) and followed the same routines over and over. The internet has solved that tedium by bringing an abundance of yoga videos straight to our phones and laptops.
The major web-based yoga video platforms (search “online yoga classes” to find them) all operate on a similar model. Their roster of teachers creates classes of varying styles, lengths, and intensities, which are updated frequently so there is always something new to try. Most of these platforms offer a free trial period, so shop around until you find one you like. Once you settle on a site, expect to pay around $15- $20 a month, which is about the cost of a single in-studio class.
If you want to pay even less (like nothing), search “yoga classes” on YouTube for many free offerings, including full-length classes and lots of pose tutorials, which can really help you establish good alignment habits. These may vary in quality (they are free, after all), so also check your trusted yoga websites when you have questions about unfamiliar poses.
…Or Without Videos
You can also make up your own routines or repeat sequences you’ve done in class. If you have a bit more yoga experience, try working up to a challenging pose or allowing your body to move intuitively after warming up with Sun Salutations. The more yoga you have done, the easier this will be, so even if you plan to do most of your yoga at home, it will help you immeasurably to take the occasional in-real-life class for inspiration and alignment correction.Tip: If a long-term, vigorous, home-based practice is your goal, explore Ashtanga yoga classes. Once you learn the sequence of poses, you can do them anywhere.
When to Practice
Though being able to do yoga at any time is one of the advantages of a home practice, such a freewheeling approach doesn’t always work out well, despite your best intentions. Schedule your mat time so that it doesn’t end up at the bottom of your to-do list. It doesn’t have to be at exactly the same time each day but don’t leave it up to chance if you want to practice regularly.Tip: If you usually take one-hour classes at the studio, you can get almost as much asana in a 45- or even a 30-minute video class because studio classes often start a few minutes late, open with a chant, dharma talk, or meditation, and end with the same. Video classes tend to get right down to business.
Where to Practice
Don’t let the lack of a dedicated space for yoga put you off practising at home. Of course, it would be lovely to have a pristine room with natural light away from the noise of the household and the street, but all you actually need is a space that is 185cm long x 68cm wide upon which to lay down your mat. In life, we usually don’t get the ideal conditions to work through our problems and deal with our stressors. Being able to focus your attention on your interior work instead of on external circumstances is good practice for life off the mat.
Tip: If you find yourself close to a wall, incorporate it into your practice for support in balancing postures.
Yoga at Home for Beginners:
If you are brand-new to yoga or have only taken a few classes, look for a beginner's series on one of the major platforms. Signing up for a series ensures that you’ll make it onto your mat regularly and get the basic info all newbies need.Tip: When you can, take an in-studio class for beginners to supplement your home practice and make sure you are on the right alignment track.
Essential Home Equipment
A yoga mat is the primary piece of equipment you’ll need. Though it’s tempting to go with the cheapest option, there are lots of reasons not to. Cheap PVC mats are slippery and they aren’t biodegradable. No surprise, we recommend an eco-friendly yoga mat with a super grippy practice surface and an intuitive alignment guide etched right onto the mat. The alignment guide is ideal for home practice because it helps you translate the instructions you hear into actions in your body.
Yoga blocks are also very useful to have at home. Straps and blankets are more easily improvised from things you probably already have around the house (belts and blankets work well).Tip: Get yourself a Liforme Yoga Mat!