At Home Yoga Essentials
Keen to try yoga but not so keen on trekking to a studio, paying for classes and trying to not call attention to yourself while surrounded by a bunch of impossibly flexible people? We get it. That’s why home yoga has become a thing.
While nurturing a yoga practice at home might take more resolve than a weekly scheduled class, it can be worth it. It allows you to practice at your own pace, without judgment, with your own comforts--and helps you save a bit of money to boot!
Want to know how to get started? Read on!
When it comes to at home yoga, you have to prioritise some time for it. Find what works best for your current lifestyle and responsibilities. That might mean a more structured every-Monday-morning kind of approach, or an easy going fit-it-in-whenever-I-can sort of way.
Space and Atmosphere
Have fun with this part! You don’t need a perfectly minimal or zen’d out environment. You just need room enough to lay out a mat.
Use both sounds and smells to help get you to a place of relaxation. Put some music on--there are tons of yoga playlists on Spotify and Youtube. Light a sweet smelling candle or burn some incense.
Tools of the Trade
Choose something to wear that allows for full range of motion in your legs and arms. And yes, it can be your pajamas if you’re yoga-ing in the morning. We won’t tell.
There are so many choices for mats out there. Research brands that prioritise the environment in their manufacturing and use natural materials so you don’t have to breath in nasty chemicals while you’re relaxing in child’s pose. Check out Mukti, LovEarth, and Mukha mats.
Give yourself a goal before you start: “switch off,” “relax,” “stretch my body,” “love myself,” “be present,” “be grateful.” This can really make a difference to your focus and experience.
Find your flow
Now that you’re all set up, choose some guidance that inspires you. Yoga with Adriene offers down-to-earth and cheerful yoga for everyone. The Nike Training Club app is free, simple to use, and great for workouts too! Finally, Down Dog is subscription based, but beautiful to use and for all levels of yoga skills.
Didn’t realise yoga uses props? That’s OK. You might not need them. Things like blocks, straps, and bolster pillows are sometimes used in yoga classes to help prop you up, reach the ground and hold onto other limbs. But with some ingenuity, you don’t need to spend a fortune. Here are some easy swaps:
Blocks: a thick (and stable) textbook or dictionary or a folded up thick blanket.
Straps: a scarf, necktie, skipping rope.
Bolster pillows: a few thick towels rolled together or a rolled blanket will do!
Try your DIY props out on the poses below:
Begin in plank position on your mat. Wrists should be under your shoulders with each hand placed on your “block” of choice. If using two different ones, make sure they are the same height.
Untuck your toes and place the tops of your feet on the mat.
Start to slowly drop your hips so that the tops of your legs sink towards the ground. Take care not to strain your lower back as you find what’s comfortable. Use a bolster between your quads and the floor if need be.
Your shoulders should be down and not drawn up around your ears.
Your chest should be out and you should feel a stretch through your abdomen.
Keep your head raised, gaze forward and take a few deep breaths.
Seated Forward Fold
Sit comfortably with your legs outstretched in front of you. Keep a slight bend in the knee if you need to.
Take your “strap,” holding each end in one of your hands.
Swing over and under the bottoms of your feet with your feet flexed towards your shins.
Take a deep breath and as you exhale, gently tug on the strap, hinge from the hips and slowly come into a fold over your legs.
Adjust the tension on the strap to pull yourself deeper into the stretch. You should feel this along the back of your legs.