Although pandemic along with a quarantine has been around for almost 2 months now, many of us are still struggling with adjusting to our lives at home. The lines between work life and home life have been blurred.
It is very easy to forget to set aside time for self care. Yoga is a great and powerful tool to bring back focus on our body and mind. Making the effort to create time and space for yoga within the confines of your home can be a rewarding way to acknowledge your own mental and physical needs and deal with the anxieties of life.
Whether you’re an avid yogi looking to transition your studio practice to home or you’re just beginning your venture into the yoga world, that's a perfect time to embark on your yoga journey at your own pace. All you need is at least 15min of your time every day and a Yoga Mat, which would inspire you to practice.
Finding Your Yoga Space
The beauty of yoga is that you can really practice it anywhere, and only you have the ability to find your zen within yourself. To help get you in a yoga headspace, you might consider lighting a candle or diffusing an essential oil (if you're not allergic to the them). Especially if you’re practicing in a multifunctional home space, these little touches can help you get out of your thoughts and focus on your practice as you would in a studio class. Make sure you find enough room to set your mat, so you can move freely. If the weather allows, and you live in the house, try to practice outside in the backyard. The fresh air and scenery help ground your practice in nature and may help heighten your awareness of the soul body connection.
Picking The Right Yoga Gear
The most important thing that you need for any home practice is a quality mat which has a good grip, easy to keep clean. Alma Yoga mats with Extra grip are lightweight and durable. They also are machine washable, so even the sweatiest yoga session can be easily washed away. Your mat will be the most important initial investment in your yoga practice. As you continue in your yoga journey, you may find that you want to purchase additional equipment such as blocks or yoga wheel to help you modify poses or perform certain stretches. Blocks help bring the ground a little closer, when you need to ground a pose but aren’t quite flexible enough. In the meantime you can always use books.
Remember you should never be attempting anything that feels painful, and only push your body to a point that you are comfortable with.
Finding Classes and Resources
Starting your yoga journey at home lets you choose your pace, if you’re just getting into yoga you can learn the basics before you tackle a studio class.
The amount of yoga tutorials available online only increased with COVID-19 - many studios are offering online classes via social media using Instagram and Zoom. Check out Instagram accounts of your local studio or yoga teachers to check their schedules.
YouTube also offers many free resources including instructional yoga videos for all skills and difficulty levels. You can find everything from "Yoga for Stress relief" to "How to achieve a handstand".
Whatever style or flow you’re interested in, there are a range of videos for you to check out. These videos can be a great way to dive into a yoga study or expand the knowledge you already have. Try checking out different instructors until you find one that seems to speak to you. Different teachers explain yoga in different ways, and it’s important to find an instructional style that works for you. Once you become comfortable with the basics, you can create your own sequences or attempt to follow more challenging videos.
Just Starting Out?
If you are just getting into yoga, it’s important to remember that everyone starts somewhere and each person owns their own practice. Feel free to check out our beginner’s guide for some helpful tips on how to start your journey into the world of yoga. It really is a journey, so try not to get too overwhelmed by new vocabulary or moving your body in ways it is not accustomed to. There’s so much to learn as long as you are open to it. You don’t have to worry about looking a certain way or fitting an ideal picture of a “yogi.” Instead, try to focus on the authenticity of your progression, making sure your form is correct so that you are not straining and hurting yourself. A modified pose done safely is much more impressive than a non modified pose with bad form. Try not to compare yourself to anyone else, instead try to focus on the positivity of engaging with fellow yogi’s energy.
Check out this short 15min Vinyasa flow which is great for all levels, taught by yoga teacher Christa Janine.
Transitioning to Home Practice
For those already familiar with studio classes, a home practice can really help you grow into your own in your yoga journey. It allows you to practice new sequences and explore other aspects of your practice. At home you should feel entirely free to hold your poses longer or take a slower or faster vinyasa. Challenge yourself with the freedom to take a child's pose whenever you want. You are in charge of your practice no matter where you are, but at home this idea may feel even more liberating. You don’t have to worry about keeping up with a class or veering off in your own direction. Hence, you can truly be open to finding what feels good in your body.
While yoga should always be a judgement free zone, sometimes we hold ourselves back in class or don’t try new poses because of the fear of falling or failing. Now is the perfect time to attempt that headstand you’ve always dreamed of. Make sure you do a thorough research before attempting any pose to avoid injuries. Perhaps, begin against a wall or with blocks. Always take the time to warm up, and flow naturally into the pose. Focus on core work and gradually building up to your peak pose.
Most complex yoga poses begin with a series of warmups and can be completed in a modified form. For example, grow comfortable in your pigeon pose before attempting to reach back for mermaid. Once you are comfortable in pigeon, then begin to slowly reach behind you for your toes. Stop anytime something hurts, and always listen to your body. Don’t be afraid to take it slow. Remember, since you are at home, you have the time and the freedom to try it again and again. Your mat will always be there waiting for you.
Creating a Routine (And Sticking to It)
Even if you devote just a few minutes a day to your asana, you will grow from it. Building a home practice provides a source of calm which everyone could use in their life. Whether you’re working from home or just need a moment of peace after a long day at the office, home yoga practice offers the major benefit of easy access. There are no time requirements or limits, meaning you can devote as much or as little time to your yoga as you like. Making the time for yoga is a major part of the journey to awareness. The time spent engaged on our mats reminds us of the importance of awareness of our breath, our thoughts, and the soul’s connection to the body. Consider either starting or ending each day with a quick mediation or short sequence on your mat. A morning sun salutation will likely set the tone for your day, and a nightly meditation may help you unwind and ease into sleep.
Developing a routine and taking time to make your yoga practice a priority can help you feel a sense of calm and control that will likely transfer over into other aspects of your life. Consistency can be a key to unlocking a more mindful relationship with your practice. Creating a dedicated space in your home where you consistently feel free to come to your mat reminds us that yoga is not simply a hobby but a lifestyle. Incorporating yoga into your daily life feeds the soul which can help you feel more energized and more positive. You’ll begin to look forward to the time that you’re able to devote to your yoga, and these moments will carry you through the rest of your day. Once you begin a consistent yoga practice and stick with it, you will see that yoga keeps you active both physically and mentally. All you need is your mat and your body, and you’ll be ready to take on your at home practice.
Prepared by Callie Bisset
Callie is a writer with passion for yoga, traveling, and adventure. She currently resides in Rhode Island, and she loves exploring the outdoors of New England and beyond. Follow along on her adventures on her Instagram, @calliebisset