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Practice yoga at home

Practise yoga at home - image of a silhouette of a woman doing a yoga stretch on one leg.

What’s the Idea?

A basic overview of how to practice yoga at home.

What’s the story

I’ve been practising various forms of yoga on and off for about 10 years. I have usually attended face to face group classes, but since the Coronavirus hit global pandemic status, forcing us all into lockdown and re-evaluating our lives, I’ve had to consider the options available for at home alone.

There are some fantastic online classes available, and more popping up daily. I will detail some here.

People should do this because…?

Yoga has benefits for both physical and mental health

Practising yoga reduces your risk for injury, as each yoga post targets specific muscles.

Yoga can help calm the mind and lower stress levels.

It increases your concentration, as a main part of yoga is rhythmic, focused breathing.

It helps you understand the mind-body connection.

The poses (or “asanas”) used in yoga practise can increase flexibility, improve balance and coordination, and in some cases, increase strength.

Yoga as a whole is an incredibly beneficial practice that is safe and accessible for most people

How do you do it?

Establish an initial yoga practice

Use beginner yoga videos. There are a wide variety of video-based yoga courses available online.  Select one that corresponds with your personal yoga goals.

Conduct online research on yoga

There are many resources online for putting together a home yoga practice.  Make sure to consult sites supported by certified yoga instructors.

Planning your home yoga practice

1) Be aware of the challenges of home practice:

Understanding the fundamentals of yoga from asana alignment to proper sequencing of asanas can help you set a successful and injury-free home practise.

If you’re just starting out, it’s advisable to practise using DVD’s or online resources until you feel comfortable putting together a solid and independent home practice.

2) Set goals for your overall yoga practise:

Figure out why you want to practice.  Yoga can be a method of physical exercise, a way to reduce/manage stress, a means of healing an illness or injury, or a path to spiritual fulfilment and peace.

3) Gather the equipment you will need to practice. Try to wear something that isn’t too tight.

4) Decide how often you want to practice:

Start your home practise with one to three sessions per week, and build up towards doing yoga every day.  Make sure the goals you set are attainable.

5) Make time for yourself:

Turn off all electronics, make sure no-one is coming over, and everyone in your household is either not home or otherwise occupied.  Make it clear that your yoga time is for you, and you should only be disturbed in an emergency.

6) Find a comfortable place to practice:

Make sure you’ve got plenty of space to move and a way to close yourself off to the outside world.  The place should be quiet and calm.

Executing an asana practice

Sequence a well-balanced practice.  Regardless of how you approach yoga, there is a basic sequence that most yoga classes follow:

1)      Start your practice with a short meditation and chanting exercise to calm your mind and centre your thoughts.

2)      Set an intention for your practice just before you begin to practice.

3)      After meditating and setting your intention for your practice, warm up with floor poses.

4)      Move from a warm-up of sun salutations to standing poses, then progress through inversions, backbends, forward bends and end with savasana or corpse pose.

5)      Always end your practice with a final relaxation pose

Deepening and intensifying your yoga

1)      Increase the duration of your practice.
Try lengthening your practice by holding each pose a bit longer and flowing seamlessly between asanas.  Add new and more challenging poses as you are able.

2)      Strengthen the intensity of your practice.
Hold each pose a little longer and challenge yourself to sink deeper into challenging poses.
Increase the speed of transitions between asanas to create more intensity.

3)      Increase the frequency of your practice.
You can safely build up to 5-7 days a week.  Making yoga a part of your daily routine can benefit your physical and mental health.

4)      Integrate new goals.
If you started doing yoga with a single goal, try integrating another purpose into your practice.  If you have been focusing on either the body or the mind, try to start focusing on both together.

5)      Level up to an intermediate or advanced yoga class.

6)      Be patient and stick with it.
Yoga is not about whether you can do a particular pose “perfectly”.  It’s about the journey.  Keep an open mind and heart at all times.

Stuff you may need

Essential:

  • Yoga Mat

Optional:

  • Yoga Belt
  • Yoga Block
  • Large Blanket
  • Bolster

Links to other articles on the web

Do yoga at home

Beginners’ guide to home yoga practice

Amazon – YogaAnytime

Links to other videos on the web

Links to books

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