Updated: Mar 25
We all know it isn't always easy to fit in time for self-care, especially when juggling work, family, and the seemingly endless list of other tasks that demand our attention in day-to-day life.
Starting a yoga practice from the privacy and comfort of your own home is not only very simple, but can even be more beneficial that attending a regular studio-based class! With a wealth of quality live online classes at your finger tips, it’s easy to see why so many people are beginning to cultivate a home yoga practice.
Of course, there are certainly a lot of benefits that come with attending yoga classes at a studio, but this isn't always an option, especially in these times of such uncertainly! Establishing a home practice allows you to keep experiencing the benefits of yoga, regardless of any external circumstances.
Even when ‘normal’ life does resume you may not live near a studio, have time to attend a regular class, or simply may not enjoy practising yoga in a class environment. If so, a home yoga practice may be the perfect solution for you - no travelling to a studio, waiting for a specific class, or commitment to an hour long session. You can practice (almost!) anywhere, day or night, you don't even have to get out of your pyjamas! You choose a time and length of class that suits you!
Another benefit of practicing at home is that it allows you to focus on yourself, and your body, without having to worry about what everyone else in the class is doing, or thinking.
Before we delve into the details of how to start your home practice, let’s look at the benefits of yoga, to both your mental and physical health, to see why you should start your practice:
Releases tension in the body and mind
Develops flexibility and mobility
Strengthens and tones the body
Provides you with tools to help manage your stress levels
Teaches you to breathe
Enables you to grow as a person.
Now we've covered the benefits of a home yoga practice, want to learn more about starting one? Grab your mat, let’s go!
1. Gather your equipment
One of the beautiful things about yoga is that you don't need much equipment. Essentially, to practice yoga you don't need anything other than your own body. Having said that, investing in a nice yoga mat and a few props that you truly enjoy using may encourage you to keep up your practice, as well as making it more comfortable. Although it’s certainly not necessary to shell out on expensive props, when you can easily substitute props such as blocks and straps with things you already have around the house, including pillows, large books, belts and dressing gown cords!
2. Make some space
If possible, find or make a quiet, uncluttered space in your home. Just as you don't need much equipment to practice yoga, you don't need much space either. Some people like to add things like candles, incense and anything else they find inspiring. However, the most important thing is to have enough space to move without causing damage to you, or your home! You're probably more likely to be able to focus the mind in a space that is clutter-free, however I have personally practiced many, many times on a sliver of floor space, just big enough to fit a yoga mat, down the side of my bed! If you’re planning on joining an online yoga class, bear in mind that you’ll need somewhere with an internet connection and a place to set up your tablet, or whatever device you’ll be using, however this generally doesn't require much space.
3. Commit to a time
Perhaps the biggest challenge is finding the time to practice. Create a set time for your practice and make it a priority. Make this an achievable time, and one that works best for you. Perhaps you’re a morning person, or maybe more productive in the evenings. Or is a lunch break pick-me-up what you need? The important factor here is to make it fit in with your life, if it doesn't you will struggle to maintain it.
4. Set a minimum practice time
As you start out on your home yoga journey, make sure you set realistic goals for yourself, starting with maybe 10-15 minutes a day. This will make it seem less overwhelming and help to avoid disappointment, as well as avoiding potential injuries by jumping into doing too much, too quickly.
Over time you can experiment with practicing for longer, you can find live and on demand videos for all practice lengths, whether it’s ten, or 90 minutes. Remember there is no ‘perfect’ or ‘right’ length of time to practice, go with what works best for you.
5. Prepare your schedule
The fact that a home practice means you're not confined to a specific class schedule and length of practice is both a blessing and a curse! You don't have to commit to the same time every day, but if you don't schedule time properly there’s a chance it won’t happen. Put your practice times into your calendar and think of them as non-negotiable appointments. However, it’s inevitable that things will come up every now and then, and you may have to shorten or miss a class, just try not to make a habit of it.
6. Prepare the night before
If you’re worried that you might not stick to your schedule, get everything you need for your practice ready the night before. Maybe pick out an outfit and roll out your mat, so you’re all ready to go in the morning. Decide what kind of yoga you're going to practice, maybe you're after a relaxing, restorative class, or perhaps more of a dynamic flow. Pick an online class or video that appeals to you and have it ready for your session.
7. Choose a practice platform
Nowadays there are an overwhelming number of yoga teachers offering live online classes, as well as free yoga streaming platforms such as YouTube, it can be difficult to know where to start. You might like to stick to a set sequence or find an online platform that offers plenty of variety. Try a few different things out, find teachers and practices that resonate with you, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to yoga. The most important thing is to listen to what your body needs that day, and to move at your own pace. Don't force anything, and always modify as needed.
8. Sit and be still
A home yoga practice is a great chance to cultivate a meditation and breathing practice, which studio classes often don't include. You may not think you're a meditation kind of person, however, even just five minutes of sitting or lying down, breathing and centring, before your practice will help you to feel more relaxed.
And finally… Go easy on yourself!
If, at times, you find it too stressful to squeeze your practice in between work and family life, that is OK. Don't be too hard on yourself!
So now that we’ve covered how to establish a regular home practice, let’s make it happen, and the many benefits of yoga will come!
If you’re looking for a place to start, why not join me for a beginner-friendly flow?