“Yoga means addition – addition of energy, strength and beauty to body, mind and soul.” - Amit Ray
Would you like to start doing yoga but don’t have the time to go to group yoga classes? Are you looking for a way to relax without breaking the bank?
Practise yoga at home! Yoga is for everyone, after all.
There are excellent books, DVDs, and online yoga practice resources available.
To start things off and make sure you don’t pick up any bad habits, you should follow our advice...
Why Practise Yoga at Home?
Do you feel like you should be doing some exercise? Would you like to become more flexible and tone your body? Do you need to get rid of some of that tension? These are all good reasons to start doing yoga.
Yoga can help you get rid of stress even if you don't have a yoga instructor. Like with meditation, listening to your breathing and your feelings with yoga can help you let go and exist in the moment. Forget about your everyday worries and the things that pop into your head. After a yoga session, you’ll feel more relaxed and have more energy!
More good news! Everyone can do yoga! Despite what you may think, yoga isn’t just for women. While yoga classes are mostly women, yoga is a well-rounded discipline for everyone: men, women, children, the elderly. You just have to take the necessary precautions based on your abilities and your goals.
There are a lot of advantages to doing yoga over other physical activities; it’s a deep-acting-yet-gentle sport that can improve your flexibility. Yoga works your muscles in a very particular way. Unlike doing weights which act on a particular set of muscles, yoga works on all your muscles through stretching movements.
The benefits of yoga aren't just physical; you can gain a deeper awareness of the world around you, an inner calm, and relieve anxiety through mindfulness meditation as a complement to a gentle yoga routine.
Once you start, you’ll quickly realise that it’s not boring either since there are so many different types of yoga: Hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Kundalini yoga, restorative yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Yin yoga, etc.
Find out what to look for when choosing your yoga mat...
How to Start Yoga at Home
Are you ready to take your first steps into the world of yoga?
As a beginner, it’s important that you make sure you’re ready to go in order to take care of your body and not injure yourself by attempting a challenging asana. Don't move onto an intermediate yoga pose before you've mastered the basics.
To get ready, you should:
- Make sure that you won’t be disturbed for between half an hour and an hour.
- Get your yoga mat ready
- Put your smartphone to silent
- Put on some music to help you relax and unwind. You could even put together a special yoga playlist that lasts the right amount of time.
One thing you should definitely keep in mind: breathing, or pranayama, is an integral part of yoga. Make sure you’re breathing deeply during your exercises and sequence of yoga postures. You also need to focus on each breath.
Here are three exercises for beginners to use with their yoga mat:
Seated poses are ideal for starting your yoga sessions. It can relax your mind and body and encourages a good posture.
Sit down. Keep your head, neck, and back aligned. Relax your shoulders, place your hands on your knees with your palm facing upwards and close your eyes. Be mindful of your breathing.
The Chair Pose
Bend your knees while keeping them over your feet with your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible. Your torso should form a right angle with your thighs. Raise your hands towards the sky as you breathe. Place your weight on your heels so that your knees don’t bend too far forward.
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The Tree Pose
The tree pose works on your balance and strengthens the muscles in your lower body.
Place your weight on your left leg and put the sole of your foot on your left ankle, move your right knee to the side, and then move your right foot up to your thigh. Keep your head straight and contract your abs and buttocks.
Place your hands together as if you were praying and then raise them above your head. Stretch upwards, breathe, and hold this position for a few moments. Then do the same for the other side.
Pick up on these techniques to master meditation...
Equipment for Your Home Yoga Studio
You don’t need to spend a lot to do yoga at home. You just need to have a few decent accessories to get the most out of your sessions. The more comfortable your equipment, the more you’ll let go and the more you’ll benefit from yoga!
The first thing you should get before you start doing yoga in your house is a decent yoga mat. You could start with a gym mat, but you’ll quickly see it’s not great for practising yoga as it can slip. A padded yoga mat will protect your back and also stop you from feeling how cold the floor is when you comfortably lie down and do different yoga poses. When choosing your yoga mat, you should consider the thickness, weight, and the price.
Once you’ve got your mat, you’ll need to get some appropriate clothes. Yoga clothes need to comfortable and facilitate movement. You’ve probably already got something suitable in the house: sports leggings and a vest will be fine for starting out. If you end up regularly doing yoga, you might consider getting clothing made from technical materials like polyester or elastane.
Here are some other accessories you could also get, depending on the types of exercises you’re doing:
Cushions can be useful for supporting your body in certain positions, like the lotus position. Meditation cushions, which are round, are designed for sitting or squatting on your heels. They are big and stable.
Blocks are useful in certain positions and can stop you from pulling your back. You can start by using a few books that you have lying around, but you should move onto the blocks because they’re more stable. You can get them at some very affordable prices from the larger sports shops.
Of course, there's nothing stopping you from taking your yoga outside. There are a lot of yoga styles that work great with running. While running and breaking a sweat can be great for your cardio, you run the risk of pulling a hamstring or damaging your knees, shins, and ankles. You can use different yoga styles before, during, or after your run to improve your core strength and alleviate some of the negative effects of running.
Also discover how you can combine your passion for running with yoga...
The Best DVDs for Home Yoga
Have you already learnt the basics and would like to go a little further? There are some great DVDs for yoga sessions in your own home, even for beginners!
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Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies, Sara Ivanhoe
This DVD covers the basics of yoga and teaches you the 12 key yoga poses. Relax, learn different breathing exercises, and tone your body. This is a great resource with plenty of yoga for beginners.
Yoga for Absolute Beginners, Susan Fulton
Learn quickly and become more flexible thanks to these exercises for beginners. The yoga poses are clearly explained and you can get your body moving along the relaxing music. Perfect for starting out.
If you’re looking for something more dynamic, check out Susan Fulton’s Hatha & Ashtanga Yoga series. You can quickly tone your body and rejuvenate the nervous system while learning how to control your emotions.
Yoga to the Rescue for Back Pain, Desire Rumbaugh
Do you have back problems or need to strengthen your back? Go with methods designed to improve your back muscles and alleviate back pain. You’ll also get rid of tension and improve the alignment of your spine.
Yoga for Stress Relief, Barbara Benagh
Find a relaxing and effective way to rid yourself of stress with yoga.
Discover some of the best documentaries about yoga and meditation...
YouTube Home Yoga Videos
In addition to DVDs, you can find plenty of videos on how to learn yoga on YouTube. If you don't have a yoga teacher training you, you should check out these digital yogis to learn more about yoga.
Yoga with Adriene
Adriene’s YouTube channel has a good range of yoga videos. You can do yoga for a variety of different reasons. Whether it’s for runners, for weight loss, or bedtime yoga, you’ll be able to find the right video routine for you. There are also a lot of good videos for beginners.
Kino, the host of this channel, is an experienced yogi and one of YouTube's most popular yoga teachers. His channel is a great resource for those learning yoga. If you’re looking for any particular pose, this is the channel you should go to first.
Tara Stiles created Strala Yoga, a dynamic yoga method that you do with music. Head on over to her YouTube channel. Without taking yourself too seriously, you can learn yoga exercises you can do to relax and for strengthening. If you’re expecting a special gift, why not try out prenatal yoga?
So whether you're looking for spiritual healing, guided meditation, beginner yoga routines, there's nothing stopping you from learning how to do a few sun salutations in your living room and bringing your body and mind together.
If you're completely new to yoga and would like more help, you should consider getting yoga tutorials from a private tutor. A lot of tutors and yogis on Superprof offer a free yoga taster session for the first hour so you can see if they're right for you.
Now head over to our FAQ page for everything you want to know about yoga and if you would like to see some yoga documentaries, read our summary blog.