There’s a lot to be said for taking yoga at a local studio. You receive personalized feedback from the instructor, you meet other yogis in your community, and you learn more about the practice from those around you. These are all important benefits, and they shouldn’t be ignored or taken lightly.
But if you don’t live near a studio, or you’re the on-the-go type who struggles to make time for a regular class, doing yoga at home can help you fit the practice seamlessly into your life. For instance, you don’t have to wait for a specific class time or commit to an hour-long session; you don’t have to pack a bag, drive to a studio, or spend extra time small talking with fellow yogis. Simply choose the time and the length of the session that works for you, and get your “om” on at home.
Starting your own home yoga practice is not only super easy, but you may even find it more relaxing than going to your regularly scheduled yoga classes! Ready to learn more about starting a home yoga practice as a beginner to yoga? Grab your mat and let’s get into it!
Get Your Gear
Technically, you don’t need anything but your own body to practice yoga. However, having equipment you truly enjoy using, particularly equipment you feel proud of, can help you create the “space” and atmosphere in your home that encourages a continued practice.
Plus, investing in a nice yoga mat and a few props may make you feel like you have to follow through on your good intentions and earn back the money you’ve put into your home practice.
Choose Your Space
Just as you don’t need much equipment to do yoga, you don’t need much space, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your space seriously. “It’s ideal to have a space that’s free of clutter,” says Parker. “This could be a bedroom, basement, or living room area. Try to find a room where you won’t be disturbed during your practice.”
You want the space you choose to feel like it’s intended for yoga, so if you can, choose a corner or a room where you don’t do anything else. It needs to be large enough for you to lay down your mat and have freedom of movement, so plan on an area that’s at least seven feet square. Even if you can’t dedicate an entire room to your practice, consider using visual cues to delineate your yoga space.
“I love creating an altar where I place objects that inspire my practice. For instance, I have my favorite lavender-scented candle, a picture of my yoga teacher trainer, Gurmukh, a picture of Yogi Bhajan, and three crystals to amplify the energy,” Parker says. “Basically, anything that can inspire you to show up and keep up with your yoga practice.”
Finally, if you plan on streaming a class or watching a DVD, you’ll need access to the appropriate technology. The good news is, there are countless apps, audio workouts, and streaming services that make it easy to follow along on a phone or tablet, so as long as you have an internet connection, the technology typically requires little space or setup.
Find Your Flow
This is especially important for those who are new to yoga because not all classes, instructors, or styles of yoga are alike. It can take a few attempts to “find your flow” and get settled into a regular practice.
Other popular streaming options include YogaDownload, Grokker, Glo, and Black Swan Yoga TV. Yoga apps, like Pocket Yoga and Asana Rebel offer yoga on-the-go, And if you’re familiar with common poses and you feel comfortable following an audio workout, YogaDownload offers free, 20-minute flows through their podcast.
Most apps and streaming services cost between $5 and $20 per month, but if you’re not sure which service is for you, try a few of them. Almost all offer short-term free trials with hassle-free cancellation if you decide you don’t want to subscribe.
Schedule Your Time
The good thing about a home practice is that you aren’t confined to a specific class schedule or length of practice. The bad thing about a home practice is that you aren’t confined to a specific class schedule or length of practice.
See the challenge? You don’t have to do your yoga practice at the exact same time every day, but if you aren’t intentional about scheduling your yoga time, chances are it won’t happen.
Go ahead and look at your weekly schedule and decide in advance when you’ll do your yoga practice and how long each yoga practice will be. Even pick out the classes you plan to “attend” in advance to reduce decision fatigue that might interfere with your decision to get started. Then, put your practice times into your calendar and treat them like a non-negotiable appointment.
If you have to shorten a class occasionally, or if you have to reschedule, that’s fine, but don’t make a habit out of it.
It’s up to you how long each practice lasts, whether it’s 15 minutes or 90 (luckily there are lots of streaming options for all practice-lengths), but Parks suggests beginners aim for 35 to 45 minutes. This length of time gets you accustomed to a typical class format without overwhelming you, and it also helps you develop a steady habit.