I found Yoga when I was struggling to maintain a consistent fitness schedule. I had tried running, cardio workouts, weight training – but it was Yoga that finally clicked. After I clumsily did my first yoga flow, in my living room, I knew this is what I wanted to do. 🙂 In this post, I will talk about doing how you can do yoga at home and share easy tips/resources for beginners.
To maintain a consistent fitness routine, you need to find something that fills your soul, that makes you feel complete. Trust me, the struggle to find the motivation to show up every day would be a lot less if you enjoy your workout and not treat it as your enemy.
I am a self-taught yoga practitioner, who found the wonderful world of Hatha Yoga in 2015. Since then I have been consistently practicing, even during pregnancy and afterward.
Please note that I am not a fitness instructor or a qualified medical person. I am a software engineer who is passionate about learning and adopting different branches of Yoga for my health and well being. Through this post, I am sharing my journey and experiences, and providing tips that I believe will help you in your yoga practice. Please consult a doctor before starting a new fitness routine, especially if you had surgery or were diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
Youtube Videos – Yoga at home for beginners
Are you someone who has never done Yoga before? Then the below video is just for you. Adriene provides excellent tips on how to do different poses safely. I love this one because she demonstrates the correct alignment for basic Yoga poses. As a beginner, you will find her instructions easy to follow.
Another excellent video I followed during my early days was #30DaysofYoga series by Adriene. Her practice is slow and mindful and provides enough information for you to start doing Yoga at home. I used to spend 15 – 30 minutes following her videos and learning different yoga poses. You can start with the below video on day 1 and follow through the series till day 30 or pick/combine any video from the series once you are comfortable.
Once you have familiarized yourself with basic yoga asanas, and your body is also accustomed to the poses, you can move on to slightly intensify your practice. Adding your own flow as a beginner is both confusing and intimidating. For that, I followed this amazing video by Fightmaster Yoga . This video greatly helped me in understanding Vinyasa Flows.
The flow includes simple and effective moves for beginners – targeting core, arms, and flexibility.
I found another great Hatha Yoga video on the same channel. And this is quite similar to my regular Yoga practice.
How to Learn Yoga Poses
When I started my Yoga journey, I knew only some of the basic poses and Suryanamaskar. I could barely touch my toes in a forward bend. Even today I am not as flexible as many yoga practitioners, but that is not a reason to not do yoga. You DO NOT need to be flexible or own fancy equipment to start a yoga practice. Hold your heart, feel your breath and move naturally.
Spend time to learn the names of yoga poses. Yoga Journal as an excellent collection of different yoga poses, along with preparatory poses and contradictions. I have gone through them numerous times to learn and recognize a yoga asana.
As a beginner, I spent at least 30 – 45 minutes doing beginner level yoga (from the above videos) and then once my body got accustomed to the movements, I spent around 15 minutes to learn a new yoga asana.
Related: 7 Tips to stay motivated
To learn new poses, I always refer to KinoYoga channel. Her account is a treasure trove of excellent yoga videos. Throughout my yoga journey (from beginner to trying out advanced poses), I have referred to her videos to learn and increase the strength of my body. What I love the most about her teaching is she breaks down each pose, demonstrates preparatory poses and the correct alignment. Also, she doesn’t waste time in her videos and gets straight to business. Check out this video of Chaturanga Dandasana.
I would like to mention that I referred to Youtube videos only during the first few months of my practice. After that, I practiced on my own, created my own flows and watched tutorials only when I had to learn a new pose. Once you get a grasp of basic yoga flow, you will understand that the videos are only guidelines. In the end, it is you who will set the pace of your practice and determine what you truly intend to achieve.
Related Post – How I learned to do Arm Balance at home?
Tips to do Yoga at Home
- Alignment – Take Videos or Practice in front of the mirror
Doing Yoga at home makes it difficult to know if you are maintaining the correct alignment. I read a lot of articles and watch tutorial videos to understand the alignment of different asanas and then either practice in front of the mirror or take videos on my laptop. Through these videos, I had found that my transition into Chaturanga Dandasana from Downward dog wasn’t straight and my hips weren’t aligned in Pigeon Pose. But practicing in front of the mirror helped me immensely in improving my form.
If you have a yoga studio nearby, you can try to attend a few classes and ask for assistance in terms of alignment.
- Utilize Props
Always take the support of a wall and use blankets, pillows or yoga blocks to prevent injury.
I could barely hold side planks or Warrior 3 when I first tried these poses. Supporting against the wall helped me to hold the pose in proper form.
Invest in a good non-slippery yoga mat. The palms and feet tend to get sweaty which may prevent you from having a proper grip.
- Protect Your Knees
Do not overextend your knees. It is better to keep your knees soft or slightly bent while doing standing poses. Overextending knees or hamstrings will leave a slight discomfort and you will feel that when you walk or put pressure on the injured knee. Here’s a great video on protecting the knees while doing certain Yoga Poses.
- Protect your back
Always warm up your body before doing any backbend. Here’s a wonderful article on how you can protect your back in yoga poses.
Remember that you should always be able to breathe in a pose. If you find yourself holding your breath, then come out of the pose – realign, readjust or do a modified variation of the pose.
- Don’t let ego take charge
Trust me, not every day is the same. Some days your practice would seem perfect, on others you might struggle to do even the basic asanas. It’s perfectly fine. Respect your body and acknowledge the beautiful things it is capable of doing.
- Take it slow
Let your body adjust to the movements. It is normal to feel soreness after you start doing yoga movements. Never force yourself to move into a pose. Keep your practice slow, concentrate on breathing and connecting to your body.
- If it hurts, STOP
Yoga isn’t like other workouts where you are pushed to do one more rep. Yoga challenges you to overcome your fear and connect with your body – sans pain. You shouldn’t be wincing or scrunching in any asana. The movement should feel natural as you ease into the pose, breathing naturally.
- Give yourself time
A lot of yoga poses like side planks (vasisthasana), boat post (navasana), etc require core strength that gets developed over a period of time only through regular practice.
Learn to do modified poses until you gain enough strength to hold the pose. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are unable to do beginner poses. Accept the strengths and weaknesses of your beautiful body with an open mind.
Here’s me trying to fight my fear and do a backbend. Even after all these years, I have to think twice to transition into a wheel (chakrasana).
I should mention that if you have more ambitious goals and wish to proceed to advanced yoga asanas, then training under a guru is more suited for your needs. It takes a lot of time to learn intermediate or advanced poses when you practice alone as you need to be more cautious of your form and alignment.
I hope this post helps you to start your yoga practice. If you have any questions, please drop a comment and I will try to answer it.
Stay strong and humble. Namaste.
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