Whether yoga classes don’t fit into your schedule or budget, or you’re just not a fan of sweating with strangers in spandex, you can enjoy the benefits of yoga right at home.
If you have the time and money to take a yoga class led by a talented instructor (and a class-style environment is your preference) then, by all means, do so. But yoga is awesome, and you don’t need to put off doing it because you can’t fit classes into your busy life. Let’s take a look at yoga, the benefits of practice, and how you can have a rewarding yoga experience right in your living room.
What Is Yoga?
The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” which means “to bind.” While that origin may bring up mental images of various body binds and stretches, the real meaning is something more akin to a “union.” For many practitioners, yoga is the union of breath, movement, and intention.
In more simple terms, yoga is a spiritual and physical discipline that uses breathing techniques, exercise, and meditation. You don’t need to subscribe to both the spiritual and physical sides to practice yoga, however. Plenty of people only follow the physical practice of yoga while retaining other spiritual beliefs.
When most people today talk about “yoga,” especially in Western nations, they’re mainly talking about the physical exercise and breathing techniques. There are several different styles of yoga, each of which has its own beliefs and rules. When you practice yoga, either in the studio or at home, you’ll be progressing through a series of stretches and movements designed to have benefits for your body.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga has grown in popularity because it has so many benefits for the body and the mind.
Different people do yoga for various reasons. Some like yoga because it helps their bodies feel stronger. For others, yoga is a good pain reliever.
Some people see yoga as more of a mindset exercise than a physical one. It helps them feel calm and centered. Others enjoy the social aspects of going to yoga classes and belonging to a yoga community. There are many different benefits to yoga, depending on your goals.
As always, you should consult with a doctor before starting a new fitness regimen, and every person experiences different results. You don’t need to be an expert to start a yoga practice. In the section, I’ll detail everything you need to start a yoga practice from home.
Everything You’ll Need to Start a Yoga Practice From Home
If you’re intimidated or too busy to go to the yoga studio, I have good news! You can start a meaningful yoga practice from home with a few simple materials.
Here’s what you need to start a yoga practice from home:
- A yoga mat: Yoga mats are specially made to keep your hands and feet from slipping as you move through different poses. Plus, they provide an extra cushion when you’re in seated or supine positions. You can check out some top picks over at our sister-site Review Geek.
- A quiet, clean space: It’s best to practice yoga away from noise and distractions. Find a quiet corner of your home where you can be uninterrupted for at least an hour.
- Practice guides: As a beginner yogi, you’ll likely want practice guides or videos to help you learn what to do. In the next section, I’ll cover places to find guides for at-home yoga practice.
That’s it! That’s all you really need to start an at-home yoga practice. However, if you have a bit of cash to spare and want to buy accessories for more challenging poses, a yoga block, yoga straps, and a thick blanket for seated positions would be a good place to start.
Where to Find Free Yoga Videos Online
There are many places to find yoga guides and videos online so you can practice yoga from home. Here are my three favorite places to find full yoga practices online.
- Yoga with Adriene: Adriene Mishler has produced hundreds and hundreds of free yoga videos. If you’re looking to start a consistent routine, try one of her 30-day challenges. She offers series for beginners and more advanced yogis, so you can stick with Adriene as you advance in your practice.
- DoYogaWithMe: Do Yoga With Me is an online site with thousands of free yoga videos. They have a huge variety of instructors and practice styles, so if you’re interested in trying out different kinds of yoga (e.g., hatha or kundalini), head over to Do Yoga With Me.
- YogaDownload: Yoga Download has a huge library of classes that you can sort by instructor, style, and focus. Have hip pain? There’s a class for that! Want to work on arm strength? There’s a class for that, too. If you’d like access to more of their library, you can register for a paid subscription.
Tips and Tricks for Starting Your Home Yoga Practice
Starting any new fitness routine can be intimidating. Here are some tips for making sure your yoga practice sticks.
- Start small: You don’t need to dive into a full, 75-minute kundalini practice when you start yoga. A simple 15-minute wake-up routine can have a profound impact on your health and wellbeing. As you get more comfortable, you can always scale up your workouts.
- Don’t compare yourself to other yogis: It’s way too easy these days to open Instagram and see yogis doing complicated poses on the side of a mountain. Don’t do that! It’s fine to take inspiration from other yogis, but if you find yourself getting down, log off the ‘gram. Yoga is about your personal journey, not anyone else’s.
- Take what you want: There are many ways to practice yoga. You can do the physical poses; you can dive into meditation; or you can learn more about the spiritual side. Take what you want from yoga and leave what you’re not interested in. Just because you start doing yoga doesn’t mean you need to dive fully into silent retreats or hours-long meditations.
Finally, don’t get discouraged—if you intend to do it every morning but miss a session, it’s OK to make it up later in the day or even the next morning.
Starting an at-home yoga practice doesn’t have to be complicated. With a few pieces of equipment, along with some excellent and free video tutorials, you can start a yoga practice and reap all of yoga’s health and wellness benefits.