If going to a yoga studio for the first time gives you knots in your stomach, don’t worry, you can easily familiarize yourself with yoga at home before trying out a class. Starting a yoga practice doesn’t have to be an anxiety producing experience for yoga beginners. Quite the opposite! By doing a little research and preparation, you can start yoga at home quite comfortably.
First, it is a good idea to decide which yoga style is right for you. No need to feel overwhelmed or trapped by your decision. Your preferences may change as you continue to practice so let this be an experiment. Have fun with your research and bring as much information into starting your yoga practice at home as you’d like. As a beginner, you have a unique perspective into the world of yoga, so enjoy!
In order to do yoga at home safely and avoid injury, it is essential to prepare properly. Practicing yoga at home is a time to gain a gradual understanding of how your body moves and become familiar with yoga postures. As a yoga beginner it is important to approach your practice systematically. Whether you are an athlete or new to physical activity, yoga will move your body in unfamiliar ways so it is imperative to start your yoga practice at home gradually. If you want to learn more about the anatomy of the body in relation to yoga, Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff is an excellent and accessible resource for all yogis, not just beginners. It is a very good reference to keep on hand should you have concerns or questions about doing a posture safely.
Next, it is very helpful to have the appropriate tools to begin yoga at home. Yoga beginners can feel mystified when looking at all the props used to support a yoga practice. How can you possibly know what you need? Making a few simple investments up front will help you stay safe while doing yoga at home and allow you to enjoy your practice more. While it is ideal to practice on a hard floor, don’t let carpet stop you. A kitchen floor or outside area can work beautifully too. Just be sure you have enough space around you to stretch out fully. Wearing comfortable clothing that allows for a full range of motion is very important. A yoga mat will keep you from slipping and is a great investment for yoga beginners. Having two yoga blocks allows you to extend your reach in postures where your hands don’t quite touch the floor. This lets you experience a posture fully without compromising your alignment and risking injury. A meditation cushion is not only for meditation! When sitting cross-legged on the floor, the knees should be at or below the level of the hips. Most yoga beginners knees are higher than the hips which creates a strain on the joints. Having a cushion will bring more ease into your seat allowing you to sit longer and they are fun home furnishings as well! Yoga blankets are great tools to allow the body to relax into certain postures by taking strain off of tight muscles. These blankets are a firm weave and give sturdy support unlike bedding blankets. They are excellent for staying warm during final relaxation too.
Now that you have some basic supplies for your home yoga practice, it’s time to get started. Many yoga practitioners, including beginners, forget about the most important tool of all, water! Being well hydrated before you start yoga is vital. Having a refillable water bottle lets you drink all you need and saves money over the disposable plastic bottles in the store. Ideally you won’t drink water during your yoga practice but only before and after. Yoga will build a purifying heat inside the body which is a good thing. As a yoga beginner, it is essential to know that this heat is a crucial part of the practice and drinking water during your yoga at home will only dampen this fire. Let it be!
There are many wonderful books to support you in your home yoga journey. Yoga books are key to building a solid foundation from which to grow. Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar is a wonderful read about yogic philosophy and how to apply the principles to a modern life. Mark Ansari’s book, Yoga for Beginners is a unique spiral bound book that you can set up like tent while practicing yoga at home. This makes it easy to see the pictures as you try the postures. A perfect companion for yoga beginners, The Kundalini Yoga Experience by Guru Dharam S. Khalsa and Darryl O’Keeffe is a colorful, fun and uncomplicated introduction to Kundalini Yoga. This book goes deeper into the energetic effects of yoga and shows you a system of techniques that allow a home yoga practice to develop around your unique needs.
Yoga DVDs can be an engaging way to expand your yoga at home as well. As a yoga beginner, be sure to start with DVDs that are appropriate for your fitness level. Rodney Yee’s Yoga for Beginners, Shiva Rea’s Flow Yoga for Beginners, and Nirvair Singh Khalsa’s Kundalini Yoga: A Complete Course for Beginners are all great starting points to begin yoga at home.
To broaden your home practice, try Yoga Shakti by Shiva Rea for a energetic flow yoga practice. Kundalini Yoga for Memory and Magnetism by Akasha will strengthen your brain, mind and energetic projection. Kundalini Yoga for Circulation and Detoxification by Gurmukh and Snatam Kaur provides an incredible workout for the abdominals while strengthening the immune system and inspiring you with a live music performance. Speaking of music, having uplifting tunes to support your yoga at home can be quite helpful. You can listen to a variety of MP3 samples right here on Spirit Voyage to see what you enjoy. If you can’t decide, a collection of various artists like The Grace Within You: Live from Sat Nam Fest or Yoga Living Series: Rising Sun or any of the Wah! selections are a good place to start.
Now you are truly set up for success in starting and building your practice of yoga at home. When you start to feel more comfortable, venture to your nearest yoga studio and try a class or two. There really is no comparison in having an experienced knowledgeable teacher help guide you in your yoga practice. Plus, since you’ve already experienced success with yoga at home, you will feel less like a beginner and more comfortable with the whole idea of yoga. Enjoy!