10 Tips For Practicing Yoga At Home

Practicing yoga at home has never been easier.  If you are a beginner to yoga or relatively new and want to establish an at home yoga practice, it is important to do some groundwork before jumping into the fray.  To prevent injury and maximize the power of your yogic experience, careful preparation and modest investments can make learning yoga at home viable, efficient, and fun.

Here are ten tips to help you establish an at-home yoga practice.

1)  Create a space  Set aside a space dedicated to your yoga practice.  Make sure it is free from furniture that could create a hazard to you as you do various yoga asana.  Your yoga space should be clean and serene.  Decorate it with images and objects that create a peaceful and sacred feeling in your heart

2) Invest in tools of the trade    If you do not already have a yoga sticky mat, purchase one.  There are yoga mats for every budget and taste.  A mat cleaner will keep your mat smelling fresh after tough workouts.  Make sure you have two blocks and a strap for modifications and consider getting a yoga blanket.  Not only will they keep you warm when you relax in savasana but they can also be rolled up to help you modify poses.  You may need two bolsters for under your knees, and you will probably want at least one style . 

3) Carefully prevent injury    If your grandmother told you that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, she was right.  When you practice yoga at home, it is your job to make sure that you don’t injury yourself.  Keep your space clear  of obstacles like furniture and children’s toys, and if possible, do your yoga in a room with hardwood floors.  Soft surfaces can injury joints and thick carpet makes balancing difficult.  Lifeboard is a hard surface that you can put on top of carpeting to make a transportable yoga floor if necessary.

4) Choose your yoga style   There are so many styles of yoga to choose from that it can be a little daunting at first.  But rather than be overwhelmed, be excited!  There are so many forms to choose from that if you don’t like one, you have several others to test out.  Hatha yoga is the most common form of yoga, but there are several schools of Hatha yoga to choose from.  Pierron recommends that beginners try something like Iyengar yoga or Kripalu yoga to help them learn the mechanics of a pose.  If dynamic movement and deep meditation is your true love, Kundalini Yoga might be the perfect style for you. Shop around for teachers and styles that appeal to you, so that you know what will inspire you at home.

5) Get Instruction   Once you find a style and a teacher you like, go to a few yoga classes.  Then you can develop yourself privately.  You can work with a teacher to find a series appropriate for you to do at home. Says Pierron, “Nothing replaces a teacher giving you personal instruction.”

6) Do further research   If you cannot find a teacher in your area, or if you want to further educate yourself about yoga, invest in some yoga books.  They are handy references to have while learning about the finer points of asana.  Magazines such as Journal can provide inspiration and a feeling of connection to a larger yoga community.

7)  Take your yoga with you    Even when you are not at home, you can be enhancing your home yoga practice.  Iphone applications are a great way to study yoga asana on the go, or even practice your pranayama.  Many yoga applications are free and others, such as Long Deep Breathing to help you learn to control your breath, are very affordable.  Going for a hike in the summer months?  Do some simple yoga and breathwork along the trail to connect more deeply with yourself and with Mother Nature, or learn Breathwalk as a spiritual practice.

8 ) Be gentle   “If you are a beginner to yoga, start as such, whether you are in shape or not,” counsels Christel Pierron.  Start with small increments of time.  Even 20 minutes of yoga to begin with is stretching areas of your body in a new way.  Start slowly when beginning a yoga practice.  Yoga was not designed as a fitness routine, but as a way to achieve spiritual union with the divine and purify the body to prepare it for meditation.  Respect the discipline and your body enough to give it time to adjust to your practice.

9)  Set the mood   For many, good music during yoga is one of the best parts of the practice.  Consider keeping ipod speakers and your ipod in your yoga space.  Begin collecting music conducive to a beautiful yoga experience or make a playlist just for your practice.

10) Meditate   The purpose of yoga was to support meditation.  In your home yoga practice, do not forget to take the time after your workout to meditate and relax the mind while you are relaxing your body.  There are so many forms of meditation.  Try something simple, such as sitting with a straight spine, closing your eyes and focusing on your breath.  The benefits of meditation include everything from lowering your blood pressure to improving your mood.

Remember that yoga is a practice of honoring yourself and your body.  Take the time to rediscover your body and soul in a nurturing, self-supportive way.  Try to find the time in your busy life to take even ten minutes for yourself in your new sacred space.  The stresses of the day and world outside your yoga space might seem pressing and urgent, but ultimately whether the dishes are put away and the laundry is done is not as important as whether or not you feel at home in your body and are in touch with the divinity within you.  Start your yoga practice at home slowly, continue steadily and gently, and while you look at your hamstrings stretch, watch your spirit soar.

Dr. Mohit Bijaka-Khandela

B.Sc., N.D.(Naturopath), Ph.D.(AM), FRHS