If you’re a beginner who wants to start a yoga practice at home, I’ve been thinking of you. After a school friend reached out to ask for advice with her beginners yoga practice at home, I realised that there might be more people just like her who are looking for a spiritual practice to keep them grounded right now. Here are 5 quick tips to get you started and keep you coming back to the mat.
Use online resources
With thousands, if not millions of Yoga YouTubers you can find the right teacher for you. There are so beginners yoga practices to sample at home. I first started yoga following along to videos from Yoga With Adrienne and it took me a while to go into a studio. If you don’t like the idea of following along to a recorded video for whatever reason most studios have used the incredible online platforms available to offer live classes. If joining a class seems intimidating you can opt for a private lesson.
There are also tons of yoga practitioners offering free classes at the moment if the Covid19 Pandemic and subsequent lockdown have affected your income. During lockdown I’m offering two free online classes to mailing subscribers, you can sign up here and you’ll get the exclusive link to access classes within the hour. These classes are at 6:00 on Mondays and 08:30 on Thursdays, subject to change in my usual teaching schedule. Any changes will be communicated to subscribers.
I’ve already mentioned Yoga With Adrienne, I highly recommend her because she has videos that help from the basics and let you build up. There is also a YWA community to help you stay connected with other at-home yogis. Her resources include ‘workshop’ style break downs of many poses. So if during a video you didn’t catch all the prompts on a certain pose, you can make a light mental and come back to it later.
Start small, work your way up
Once you’ve found the right channel or studio for you, start small and try for a regular practice. Just fifteen minutes 3 or 4 times a week will help you build up to a longer practice and help you get stronger in poses that are tough right now. Yoga is difficult but with practice comes ease. In the meantime, child’s pose is always available to you when you need a mini-break. The nice thing about being at home is no one can see you if you’re following a video. If you’re working with a teacher, they’ll be the only one watching to make sure your practice is safe.
Repeat the basics
Challenging yourself is part of yoga but start slow with a solid foundation. Perhaps you get sick of downward facing dog or Sun Salutations after a while, so test out if you can remember a sequence without guidance. If it feels a little funny because the flow of movement isn’t quite there yet or the teachers prompts help you find a better feeling in the poses, keep repeating the basics with them. You’re a beginner and still learning, so let yoga teachers support you.
The brain is an amazing thing. Research has shown that shorter study or practice times often yield quicker and longer lasting results when learning. This is true of both physical movement and learning new information with pen and paper. Also take care to start with basic poses. I’ve done a few online videos with that are tagged as intermediate but have pretty advanced poses. So maybe 10 minutes is all that serves you right now… In the next few weeks your practice could become 30 minutes long and downward facing dog could start to make sense as a ‘rest’ pose.
A Time & Space for your Home Practice
Having a time and space for anything new that you start is always a good idea. If you make a promise to yourself you’re much more likely to keep that promise if you schedule a time into your calendar for it. Make a time that works for you day to day needs.
Personally I made it first thing in the morning when I started practice. It was too easy to find an excuse at the end of the day and skip yoga when I was a beginner so I had to make it the thing that got me out of bed. However, this might not work you. So find the time that works for you and stick to it. Write it down. Accountability helps when developing a new spiritual practice.
Knowing that there’s a spot in your home where you can roll out your mat is also helpful. I know that at first I had visions of a dreamy space that had a little alter like the studios I attended and soft lighting that was, like totally Instagram-able. But in reality, it’s my living room passage way. Which is totally fine! The space just has to function for you, for now.
Find your motivation
Why do you want to start practicing yoga? Any answer and every answer is valid. Let yourself to really honest and don’t judge the answer.
Remember this answer and if (or when) it feels weird, or frustrating, or confusing… come back to this reason. Let this reason remind you that if you are n’t quite sure which pose you’re meant to be in or how your right foot got to that spot when the chick in video is doing something else- it’s ok. No one is judging you. Least of all yourself. Our egos get to take a break during our physical yoga practice.
Your motivation may evolve with time- mine was stop shoulder pain and now it’s connection to my God, my highest good, my service to the greatest good of all. Yours can be whatever you like.