When you’re brand new to yoga, the idea of starting on your own can seem difficult, or even impossible. I find that there is a common misconception about the practice of yoga.
Many people who have never done yoga either think that yoga is simply “just stretching”, or they think that you need to be some sort of acrobat and crazy flexible to be able to step foot in a class.
Neither of these above statements are true. It’s absolutely achievable for anyone to start their own at-home yoga practice even if you’re an absolute beginner.
Starting Yoga as an Absolute Beginner
Yoga can be whatever you want it to be. The practice of yoga is personal to you and only you.
Yoga can simply be sitting in silence, or it could be moving between three comfortable poses in an hour, it could be a powerful, sweaty flow, or it could be five minutes of stretching on the floor.
My daily practice varies between all of the above.
The easiest way to familiarize yourself with the practice is to go to a class, but that may seem daunting to a lot of people who don’t know the first thing about yoga.
It can be intimidating and overwhelming even stepping into a beginner yoga class. Not to mention, yoga studio memberships can cost a lot of money.
However, with a home practice comes some challenges. Without a schedule, it can be hard to find motivation to get on your mat, or to know where to start.
If you’re a beginner and looking to learn the basics of yoga with no one around in the comfort of your own home, I’ve come up with these tips to start your very own at- home yoga practice!
Create a Practice Space
This space can be as lavish or as simple as you choose. Some people may choose to go out and buy decorations for their space, and others may keep it as basic as placing their mat on the floor. Whatever you do, make the space a comfortable, inviting, clutter-free area.
If you have the space, the best option is to dedicate that space to yoga and yoga only. This doesn’t mean you have to have a second bedroom, it can simply be a corner in your living room. However much space you have, that is your new designated yoga space.
All you truly need is a mat for support, but if you’re able to spend a few bucks to improve your practice, I recommend purchasing a few “props” to assist you in your practice.
It really doesn’t matter what kind of yoga mat you have, but the reason I recommend to use a mat is because it provides support for your knees/back/feet and it will prevent you from slipping around.
If you’d like a quality, basic yoga mat, this is a great one to start with. It’s lightweight, durable, non-slip, and is made with non-toxic material.
Yoga blocks such as these will help you with support and stabilization, and gives you multiple levels for height for modifying poses to suit your level of flexibility.
A yoga strap is awesome for stretching, as well as for practicing correct alignment in certain poses. I personally use the strap every day for stretching my hamstrings by wrapping the strap around the bottom of my foot.
Having a dedicated yoga area creates space for you to feel comforted by your practice, and to feel motivated to return to your practice every day.
It may take a few weeks to get into the groove, but eventually practicing yoga will become a part of your daily routine that you will look forward to each and every day!
This is an extremely beneficial step for getting started with a home yoga practice when you’re new to yoga. With the technology we have today, we have access to professional yoga teachers all around the world.
There are tons of yoga videos that are free on YouTube. I personally like Yoga With Adrienne, as she really lays out the basics in a non-intimidating way at a slower pace and is accommodating for all levels!
Do what you can from the practice, and get a feel for what it’s like to be in a “class.”
Another great thing about online yoga videos is that you can find a specific class based on your current needs. In yoga studios, usually there are 3 or 4 kinds of yoga offered, but online you can find more targeted class: “yoga for tight hips”, “yoga for bedtime”, “yoga for your core”, etc.
You can pick your style and pace and get exactly what you need out of the practice.
Hold Yourself Accountable
This can be difficult for some, as it is entirely upon yourself to dedicate time to practice. Trust me, I know that it can be hard to get yourself on the mat when you don’t have a teacher in front of you or a class that you’ve paid for.
For me personally, my first tip is extremely important; creating an inviting and comfortable space that you look forward to coming to every day. I’m all about maintaining a daily self-care routine, and stepping onto my mat is just another way to have time for myself to reconnect.
If you work a job during business hours, set aside 30 mins every day before or after work to go to your yoga space.
Think of it as a class. If you find a yoga video or audio that you enjoy, you’ll have a timed session already set up for you.
Set Goals For Yourself
Maybe you want to become more flexible, or maybe you want to lose a few lbs; whatever your goals are, tell your friends about it or ask your partner to practice with you at home.
Track your practices on a calendar so you can see your continued dedication for yourself at the end of each month.
Keep your goals short term and realistic. You want to be able to achieve them, so creating goals in accordance with your schedule is important.
Set short terms goals such as figuring out something you’d like to accomplish in three months, whether it’s getting into a headstand, touching your toes, or just being able to feel centered and focus on your breath.
Finding a way to keep your motivation and hold yourself accountable is very important at the beginning of your yoga journey, and having a consistent routine is key.
Looking at photos and reading inspirational books is a great way to find motivation to keep practicing. It may be difficult to be inspired if you’re feeling like you haven’t been able to hold a pose, or haven’t found any interesting flows.
For many people, Instagram is a great platform to draw inspiration from. Not necessarily by looking at “advanced yogi” profiles, but moreso by looking at creative flows and poses. You can search for a “yoga challenge” and follow along for a week as you and fellow yogis post a series of poses.
I also really like Pinterest, as there are many videos and photos that explain certain poses; how to stretch for them, and the specific steps for how to properly get into them.
Get connected with people who inspire you to practice. Find something or someone that gives you inspiration to practice!
Align Your Lifestyle With Yoga
This one is key, and it’s relevant to any sort of workout or fitness goals. If you’re living a life where you’re drinking every night, or staying up super late binging on junk food; chances are you’re not going to feel like practicing yoga the following morning.
If you have plans every night after work and are consistently staying out late, you probably won’t get up early enough before work to dedicate time to your practice either, and by the time you get off work, you’ll be ready to make some food and chill on the couch – you know it’s true!
This goes back to step 3 – holding yourself accountable.
If you want to incorporate a yoga practice into your life, you must change things in your life to create time and energy for yoga.
Aside from the actual practice, this time that you’re setting aside in your day is for YOU; a chance for “you time.” Self- care is such an important necessity that many people don’t recognize as important until they try it.
This will allow for more time for yourself, your yoga practice, and less time binge-snacking, drinking, staying up late, or any other unhealthy habits you may have unknowingly allowed to be part of your daily routine.
The best thing about yoga is that it’s accessible to almost anyone. You don’t need anything to practice besides yourself.
That’s the most beautiful part of it all; you don’t need a fancy studio, you just need the motivation to get started.
Yoga is so beneficial to our mind and body, so hopefully with these tips you’ll be on your way to a consistent home practice!
The Traveling Yogi