Almost everyone seems to have done yoga at some point in their lives. Many people give up on classes because they’re not always convenient and the cost can quickly add up. However, often you’ll find having great intentions on starting a yoga practice at home isn’t enough. While having good intentions is the first step, having an excellent plan is the second. While there aren’t any hard and fast rules, there are some things you can do to make your practice more successful. Today, I’ll talk you through my five top tips for starting a yoga practice at home.
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It might feel counterintuitive to attend classes as your first step to become an at home yoga practitioner, but this one is important for a few reasons. First, you need to learn how to practice safely. You might need some modifications for your skill level, body or current abilities, and it’s important to get feedback on what modifications are safe and useful.
Going to a few different classes can also help you get a feel for what sort of yoga you’re into. I practiced Bikram for years before I realized that flow and blended yoga are more my thing. If I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone and attended a few different classes, I never would have found what yoga worked well for me. Don’t underestimate how valuable real-time feedback from an experienced instructor can be. If you can afford a private session, that’s the perfect place to talk through some routines and get some specifically tailored tips for your practice.
Build a Space
If you’ve been into a few yoga studios, you’ll start to recognize that they all tend to have some similar characteristics. Think about what your ideal space looks like.
Is it more important for you to have somewhere that’s easily accessible that you can get to in 2 minutes in the morning? Is a place that’s out of the way where you can hide and get away from real life important? Do you want to practice inside or outside? Consider how you’ll heat or cool the room if you need to. Once you’ve got a bit of an idea of what you want your space to do, think about what you need to achieve that space. Get yourself a nice yoga mat, a strap, and a block if you need one. Think about whether a blanket would be nice to help you wind down in savasana at the end of your practice.
If you’ve decided to play music while you practice, find some playlists that are empowering and not distracting. Don’t forget to leave your devices at the door, or if you need set them to do not disturb.
Any plan is only as good as the routine you’re committed to. Think about how often you want to practice and for how long each session. I recommend you don’t overdo it at first. Even a 15-minute session is a great place to start. Make sure it’s something you can commit to doing each time you practice. When do you want to practice? If you want to build a routine, building time for yoga into your everyday life is a good option. However, when you choose to practice might impact on what sort of practice you do.
For example, practicing first thing in the morning is great if you want to do something energetic, like flow. If you’re looking to destress, at lunchtime or right after work might be ideal. If you’re looking at practicing primarily for relaxation, before you go to bed might be a good choice. Whatever it is you choose, block out time for it in your calendar, and stick to it.
Find an App or Video
Some people, especially those who have more experience doing yoga, might like to build their own routine and do it from memory. For the rest of us, reaching for something like a yoga DVD for beginners, a video or an app might be a good option. Videos are great because you can watch for technique tips. You can usually find a practitioner who works well with your preferred style. Some YouTubers also make technique videos which focus on one technique and teach you the things you should look out for when practicing. Apps are also great if you want to build your own routine. Try a bunch and see how they work for you before you commit to one DVD, video or app.
Like anything, starting something new is only good if you actually do it. Review your progress regularly. Is your routine or type of yoga working for you? Do you need an extra challenge, or do you need to find some modifications? Can you practice more often or for longer? Review whether you need additional help or support. If you can, consider attending classes once a month or every couple of months so you can get real-time feedback and see how you improve. If you can afford it, a private lesson every few months is a great option, so you’re able to ask specific questions or for specific modifications.
If your circumstances change, such as injury or pregnancy, definitely consider going to a class or private lesson as ensuring you’re practicing safety is hugely important.
Take these tips and get started!