This is one of the most common questions I get. “How do I start doing yoga on my own… at home!?”
I have been meaning to write this post for a while, mostly because it is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Although, my yoga practice started in a Bikram studio, it quickly shifted into being a very personal practice that I developed in the comfort of my own home, which then evolved into practicing a plethora of different styles- rotating between new studios, new teachers, online classes- ultimately deepening my own personal practice.
Before I dive in to my own tips and tricks of how to get into a routine of regularly practicing yoga at home, I want to preface it by saying yoga is such a personal and subjective practice and although my tips might give you a launching point, it is truly up to you to explore how deep and meaningful your own at home practice can be.
So, without further adieu, here is what I recommend you do to start your at home yoga practice:
- Find your “go to” space and set the vibe.
This can mean a few things- maybe you have a space in our home that can permanently be your yoga zone. If this is the case, I recommend truly committing it to that. Keep your mat there, your props, maybe a speaker, or some candles. If you want to get really introspective, having an altar in your space can be very meaningful. A few favorite objects, pictures, books, or gemstones. If you don’t have the space to have a permanent spot, at least map out the best spot in your home to roll out the mat. For most of my life, that has been in the middle of my tiny living room- however, I make it a habit to clean the living space. Clear space, clear (ish) mind.
2. Take an online class!
I think one of the best ways to build a better at home practice is for you to continue being guided by teachers, just in the comfort of your own home! I typically will “free flow” a few times a week, and take online classes a few times a week. YouTube has a TON out there (including my own channel, coming soon!!). However, I also recommend seeing if you favorite in person teachers offer online classes and/or Alo Moves is a great subscription with hundreds of classes!
3. Familiarize yourself with basic postures and breathing techniques.
When you think of yoga, you might think of the physical postures (asanas). This is just ONE branch of the 8 limbs of yoga. However, it is important to know the basics, for it can be a catalyst into the other limbs, ultimately leading you to a lifestyle shift. I recommend learning Sun Salutation A and B, as well as the Moon Salutations. You can find these taught all over YouTube. Once you get more comfortable, you will be able to practice it without a teacher leading you through the postures, and then you can get more creative with additional postures. In addition, establishing common breathing techniques (pranayama) is highly beneficial not only for your practice, but for overall health. Something as simple as getting in touch with your breath and slowing it down, creating a rhythm, is a start.
4. Plan your sequence.
Although I would recommend a yoga teacher training to everyone and anyone- you don’t have to be a teacher to plan basic sequences. Write down a few postures you want to explore on the mat today and keep it by your side. Here is my go to sequence: childs pose, table top, cat- cow, down dog, 3 leg dog, low lunge, low lunge with a twist, down dog, repeat other side.
5. Record yourself.
This isn’t for everyone, but just remember it doesn’t have to ‘go’ anywhere. Record your practice to see your alignment, to see if you are utilizing your breath, and to see what postures you tend to come back to over and over again (or perhaps which ones you are avoiding or quickly forcing and then falling out of!) It’s all about awareness, not judgement!! When I started recording myself more, I found that there were certain postures and certain sides that I tended to avoid, which is fine- but it provided me with more awareness about my practice!
6. Set an intention or create a mantra.
Setting an intention or having a mantra gives your practice a focus, a purpose, a direction. As with life, its okay to stray and wander, but having an anchor to come back to is a beautiful tool. This can be a word, a phrase, or a feeling that you want to ground you or come back to to help guide your practice. Some examples I use pretty often are: Be curious. Be expansive. Use your breath. Connect within. Embody both strength and stillness. Find comfort in the discomfort.
At the end of the day, if you roll out your mat, move your body, and breathe- you ARE, in fact, doing the damn thing.
I am a firm believer that if you show up on your mat and work to listen to what your body and soul need, they will tell you.
Part of the yoga practice is becoming more intuitive with ourselves, so if you decide to show up, if you decide to try, you’re doing it.
Oh ya, don’t forget to have fun with it.
Have any questions or comments? Drop them below 🙂 Let’s connect.
Ps. Be on the lookout for my soon to be YouTube channel, where I will be providing a variety of different yoga classes online!