Namastay-at-home and practice yoga with these top tips.
It feels like every day, on a regular scroll through the internet, we come across a picture of a lifestyle influencer or Instagrammer wearing yoga pants in a plant-filled apartment, casually getting an intense yoga pose into their feed. But yoga isn’t about the poses (or posing), it offers a unique way to get to know and understand your body and mind to check in with where you are, make space and accept without judgement.
And its unique benefits seem to grow five-fold when you contemplate at-home practice: no commute, no costs and no stress about being judged by other gym bunnies in the class. So if yoga is something that has appealed to you for a while, or is just starting to spark your interest, there’s never been a better time to begin your practice at home.
Get ready to inhale and then exhale as we take you through our eight top tips for getting started with yoga at home:
1. Find a quiet space
Assuming you don’t have an in-built home studio, the good news is, you don’t need anywhere special to practice yoga at all. You can find the space on your balcony, in the living room or in your bedroom. Just make sure there’s enough room to lie down and stretch out your whole body without hurting yourself. It’s also good to find somewhere you’ll be able to get a quiet few minutes without distractions from the outside world to make the most of your practice. We recommend choosing a spot that you’ll be able to return to for every session; once you’re able to associate it with yoga, you’ll find it much easier to get in the zone. If you fancy, light a candle or add some flowers to help bring a sense of peace.
2. Get a Mat
The only piece of equipment we think you need to invest in is a good mat. Or, if you’re feeling uncertain about whether yoga is for you, you can start out by temporarily using a towel or something else to soften the ground while you make your decision. However, if you want to make yoga part of your routine, do make sure you get a mat as this will soften the pressure on your joints and muscles and prevent any injury. Yoga enthusiasts also suggest purchasing blocks, (these are particularly good if you’re not so flexible as they bring the ground up to you!), but these are easily replaced by books or similar. It’s also good to keep a cushion or blanket on hand, in case you want to help soften your knees or other joints.
3. Set a routine
As with all new habits, it’s important to mark out a time you can actually dedicate to it. Many yogis suggest incorporating your practice into your morning routines, to help you make space and adjust at the start of the day, but we’re also a fan of a night time practice to unwind before you go to bed. Perhaps you’d like to dedicate 10-15 minutes of yoga a day, or, if you’re adding it to an existing workout routine, perhaps you’ll be adding half an hour in once or twice a week. Whatever works for you, make a commitment before you start and stick to it.
4. Don’t treat it like a class
Whether you’ve been to a yoga class in a studio or not, it’s important not to expect that your at home practice will be like those you’ve experienced or seen on television or movies. Don’t look for intense hour-long sessions which will leave you sweating. The benefits of at-home yoga are the regular routine and personalisation to you. Listen to your body and act accordingly. You can think of it a little like eating where a class is a Michelin-starred restaurant. When you’re at home, a simple cheese sandwich or slice of toast can be as sustaining, enjoyable and good for you – if that’s what you need on the day. Don’t bully yourself if your practice at home is a little simpler and less intense; it can still be serving you just as well.
5. Lose your expectations
Just like expecting your yoga practice at home to be like a world-class lesson, you also need to release yourself from expectations of what yoga looks like, and what your body should be able to do. Not all yoga practices involve headstands and contortionist poses. Practicing yoga doesn’t have to mean you can touch your toes or do the splits. Understanding your own body, looking for small improvements in comfort, stretching and acceptance is much more important than aiming for final positions or goals in your practice.
6. Learn some basic postures and terms first
As with many things, the world of yoga can seem intimidating at first because of a range of language of expert terms, used by yogis and others who use the traditional sanskrit names for things. We recommend breaking down some of those barriers and getting to grips with the terms and meanings before you try out your practice. Aaptiv has a great introduction to key yoga terms. Once you know your sun salutation from your shavasana, yoga will seem a lot more achievable.
7. Choose a practice or guide
If you already have some knowledge of yoga, or prefer to do things at your own pace, don’t be afraid to head into a yoga practice without a guide. Perhaps set a position that you’d like to try out or put on a breathing meditation guide. However, if, like us, you prefer to have someone there to give you structure and purpose, the internet offers a whole world of practices to turn to. From at-home yoga sessions on apps like aaptiv, to the ever-growing resources on YouTube, you’ll be able to find something for you. Our personal favourite is Yoga With Adriene on YouTube – she has a down-to-earth and welcoming attitude, and you can divide practices between time, body part, emotional aim or follow one of her 30 day plans to get a full spectrum of practices.
8. Listen to your mind and body
Ultimately, as pretentious as it might seem, the aim of yoga is to know and accept your mind and body, without judgement. Learn to listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to make space for it where it needs help, pushed harder or even toned down. This all just depends on how it responds. Yoga is different for every single person that practices it, so take the time to learn about what you need and gain from it.
Want to get more wellness and fitness into your life? Try to build up your exercise at home routine with one of these fitness apps, or add immune-boosting foods and habits into your day-to-day with these top health tips.