How to Do Yoga at Home

How to Do Yoga at Home
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One of the great things about yoga is that you can do it almost anywhere. In Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar suggests that all you need is a level floor, preferably one in a clean, airy space that is free from insects. If you have that and a yoga mat, you're good to go.

How to Establish a Home Practice Routine

Getting a home practice going comes down to three basic elements: finding a method that works for you and then committing some time and space for it as regularly as possible.

Method: Don't worry about what you've been told is the "right" way to do it. If DVDsonline classes  or apps work for you, that's great. You can get inspired by sequences published in magazines or your favorite yoga websites (ahem, we have a few right here). When you're ready to create your own free-form flow, go for it. Establishing a warm-up sequence, maybe followed by sun salutations, that you do every time is a good way to ease yourself into each yoga session. No single technique is going to work for everyone but you are much more likely to stay committed if you are honest with yourself about what works best for you.

Time: This is pretty crucial. You're going to be most successful if you find a regular time that fits your schedule and don't worry about what anyone else says about the "best" time for your practice. Morning, afternoon, evening, it's all good if it works for you. You don't have to find an hour in every day to make a home practice worthwhile You can do a lot in less time, especially if you keep it super consistent.

 Lots of people with busy lives like to knock their yoga out first thing in the morning before their day gets crazy. Set your alarm a half hour early and roll right onto your mat. An evening session to help you relax and get ready to sleep is also a great option. If you have more time, you can build on to these sequences.

Space: Anywhere you lay your mat becomes your yoga home. Setting matters a lot more for some people than for others. If you are having a mental block against your home practice because you can't figure out where do it, here's a lot of advice on finding a place for yoga at home. Basically, carve it out wherever you can. If you can find a place in your house where you can leave your mat and any other accessories you need at the ready, it does help you get on you mat more regularly. You just enter that space and there's no other reason to be there. If you don't have that luxury, at least know where your mat is going to go. Rely on your schedule to get you there. 

Home Practice Caveat for Beginners

Way back when there wasn't a yoga studio on every street corner, it was very common for people to get their first yoga experiences from looking at books or, eventually, videos. Many people still do start at home for a variety of reasons, including lack of access to classes, budget constraints, or self-consciousness about doing yoga in public.

Whatever gets you started is great, but do try to check out some yoga classes when you can.

Why? Well, even though most group yoga classes are a far cry from the one-on-one guru/student model of old, there is still something very powerful about learning in a hands-on way from an experienced teacher. When you are alone in your living room, it's very difficult at first to know if the shapes you are making with your body closely mimic the ones on your page/screen or not. There is no substitute for a hands-on adjustment or demonstration by a teacher. If you are not able to do certain poses, a teacher can offer you variations, modifications, and props in a way that a video cannot.

I always urge people who are new to yoga to take classes whenever possible. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find one you like, but if you persevere there really is something out there for everyone. And if you take a few classes and then decide it's not for you, that's ok too. You'll return to your home practice with a little more experience and body awareness than you had before. 

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