Have you heard about all the great benefits of yoga and want to find the best way to learn yoga at home? We think it’s a great idea and yoga is actually ideal to tone the body, work on your weight management while also reducing stress.
With regular practice you’ll work your way towards more complex poses and sequences, until your practice becomes a gentle symphony between your breath, mind and body.
Let's look at why you should learn yoga, how to learn yoga at home and the resources you need to start your practice today.
Reasons Why You Want to Learn to do Yoga at Home
Yoga is a fantastic practice to create synergy between your body and mind. Why would you need that? Well, if you learn to know your body and mind, you can recognise the signals they send to each other and manage your body and mind better.
Yoga will help you to not only tune more into your physical body, but with practice and the help of some yoga tactics like meditation, you’ll also get to experience greater mental health as you learn acceptance, patience, gratitude and managing your own thoughts. It leaves most people with a sense of inner calm and studies suggest that it increases oxytocin (the love hormone) in people, creating a sense of connection, trust and security with themselves and the rest of the world.
Maybe you already know about the massive list of benefits yoga can have on your life, but here are some of the biggest ones for us:
- Strengthen your muscles and bones while building endurance
- Increased flexibility and mobility
- Better sleep
- Greater awareness and mindfulness
- Injury prevention
- Mental strength, better focus and greater mental management
- Weight loss and improved weight management
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Cardiovascular fitness and better heart health
Here’s another article about the science of yoga and how it releases important hormones while rewiring your brain towards happiness. You’ll also discover that there are various types of yoga and selecting one that suits your personal objectives will be one of the first decisions you make as you start your practice.
Deciding to do yoga at home will allow you to reap the benefits from the practice, but will also offer you full control of your practice. This way you can focus more on what you like most about yoga, whether it be pranayama (breathwork), meditation and mindfulness or the physical practice to leave you with a nice glow.
You can also combine yoga with other sports. Yoga works perfectly with running as it’ll work on the joints and ligaments while stretching the muscles that running places strain on. Yoga is also ideal if you do weight training as it’ll help stretch the muscles and in this way prevents injury while ensuring greater mobility in the joints, muscles and fascia.
What You Need to Start Your Yoga Practice
Yoga is ideal for everyone, young and old, fit or not, but the secret is to only take on that what your body can handle. To start yoga you also don’t need a lot of equipment , time or experience.
Even 15 minutes of yoga or breathing will benefit you at the start or end of your day and the experienced yogis say that it’s more important to arrive on your mat every day than pushing for hours in one day and then not doing anything the following days.
Here’s what you’ll need before your first class as you :
- A yoga mat
- The type of mat you choose can be an important decision. But for the first couple of months just a beginner yoga mat will do. Try and go for one that is thick enough to protect your knees, but not too soft as it’ll hamper your balance. As you become more experience you can opt for the more expensive mats, but always try and find a material that’s environmentally friendly and durable.
- A peaceful place
- Find a place where you can control and limit any distractions. This is a commitment to your own health, and therefore grant yourself the time away from the outside world.
- Comfortable clothing
- The first thing people do is wear loose fitted clothing, but this can in fact get in the way if you start to twist into more tricky poses. Ideally you want to wear something that has a comfortable tight fit, with the capability to stretch, like tights and a sports bra.
- Music has an incredible calming effect on the mind, and it can also positively influence your practice. If you don’t have your own relaxing music there are some wonderful playlists on Spotify, iTunes or even YouTube
- Depending on the intensity or your workout and duration you might need water. As a beginner learning yoga for the first time, ensure you have a bottle of water at hand.
- Pillows or props
- Props are incredibly useful to help you align and also settle in certain poses. It’s used in Iyengar yoga for creating balance in your body and also extensively in Yoga Nidra to help you relax in certain postures. In the beginning you can use cushions, pillows or even a book with a towel wrapped around. Once you’ve committed to yoga and know you’ll use the blocks you can find them at any sport shop or big online retail outlet like takealot.com
It’s also important to bring some self-love and patience with you to your yoga mat. You are learning a new skill, therefore have compassion with the things you struggle with and learn to develop a curiousness around them instead of judging yourself.
The Basics of Yoga
Beginner yoga sequences and classes are the best option if you learn to do yoga from home. It will slowly impart a familiarity with the various asanas (poses), while teaching you about the strength and the limitations of your own body.
We wanted to arm you with a breathing exercise and a couple of poses you can try out. Be sure you google some images of these as a visual reference will guide you. You’ll learn about some of these in most beginner classes.
This is a basic pranayama exercise where you control the inhale and exhale and smooth them out to become the same length and intensity. As you breathe in, slowly count to four, hold your breath for the same count of four and exhale to the count of four, keeping your lungs empty for a four-count before repeating the cycle.
This breathing is ideal for calming the mind, reducing stress and bringing focus. It’s so popular that most fitness watches come with it and you can even use it if you struggle to focus at work or with your studies.
Lotus Pose/Seated Position
Developing a good seated posture is good for establishing and starting your yoga practice each time. A lot of people don’t have the hip flexibility to be seated with their right ankle folder over their left thigh, and their left ankle over the right. Props under the knees and / or your bum can make it more comfortable as this should ideally be a resting pose to calm your mind and bring your awareness and attention onto your mat.
Child’s pose it the perfect pose to shut out the outside world and focus on your own body, mind and breath. From a kneeling position, move your knees the width of your mat, toes touching behind you. Then gently try and lower your bum closer to your ankles and walk your arms forward to straighten them as you lower your chest towards the mat. The head should ideally be resting on the mat, but you can use a block under your head to support you, or under your bum.
Child’s pose is another resting pose and should calm you down, so ensure you are completely comfortable and focus on your breathing.
Cat and Cow Pose
The cat and cow poses are ideal for warming up your spine. Starting from all fours (hands stacked under the shoulders on the mat and knees stacked under the hips), for a cow pose you can slowly lower your belly to the mat as your chest and gaze moves forward. Cat pose is the reverse, resembling the shape of a scared cat as you dome your spine to the ceiling and pull in your belly button, drawing your chin to your chest.
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Most yoga classes end in the corpse pose where you lie flat on your back, your legs relax to the corners of your mat and your arms are widely spread to the sides, palms facing up. For some this could be quite a vulnerable pose and if you want to you can also place your hands on your heart or belly.
The best way to learn yoga at home is with the help of an experienced teacher or visual references. Yoga teachers are experienced in connecting the various poses into smart sequences to gradually work through different parts of the body.
Online videos and teachers are also a great help if you want to learn yoga from home and some of the world’s best instructors offer beginner yoga classes for free. To get you started, check out some of these Youtube Channels and names:
- Yoga with Adrienne
- Koya Webb
- Briohny Smyth
- Tara Styles
- Dylan Werner
Don’t be afraid to explore and discover the various types of yoga, as long as you ensure your own health and body always come first and don’t attempt advance poses if you are a beginner at yoga.
Move slowly and with awareness, while choosing a yoga instructor who carefully guides you in moving in and out of postures, correcting your alignment along the way.
We have a range of qualified and experienced yoga teachers in your area. Search, compare, enquire and book your online class conveniently from your phone or laptop.
You’ll be moving like a yogi, before you can even say downdog.
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