The Budget-Conscious Yogi: 4 Tips For Practicing Yoga At Home
Want all the benefits of yoga – minus the expensive studio price? Here’s what you need to know about starting a home yoga practice, including safety tips, essential gear and more
Practicing Yoga At Home
You’ve put on your stretchy pants and laid out your mat, but before you attempt a full yoga sequence, you need to properly prepare.
“The best thing you can do before you start a home yoga practice is attend some yoga classes with a certified instructor,” says Sarah Bolen, a Halifax-based yoga instructor and host of Coral TV’s Surviving Yoga. “Get the basics from a teacher that you get to interact with one-on-one. That way you can feel comfortable with yoga and your body before you start at home.”
It’s also important to do some research. “Make sure you equip yourself,” says Bolen. “There are a ton of amazing resources online, like YouTube videos and yoga sites, that will help you figure out what you need.”
1) Stay Safe
You may think you’re ready to rock a handstand or backbend, but when you’re practicing yoga at home, be careful of potential injuries.
“Never try a pose, especially an advanced pose, that you’ve never done either in a class or have done some extensive research on,” says Bolen. “You might see someone on Instagram doing these crazy poses, then you try to copy it and end up getting hurt.”
If you really want to try the difficult poses (we agree, they do look pretty cool) get a yoga buddy to help you out.
“Make sure you set up a safe space to do more advanced poses, whether it be with a friend, or with a teacher,” says Bolen.
2) Get Essential Gear
Sure, you could strike a few poses on your bare living room floor, but it’s in your best interest to pick up a few essentials (plus, it’s fun!).
“You definitely need a mat,” says Bolen. “It doesn’t need to be expensive – you can pick one up for under $20 – especially if you’re just starting out.”
Bolen, who practices every day, does have some favourites. “I really love Manduka mats. I use them exclusively for home practice. Lululemon has some great ones as well, which are good for an everyday practice.”
Don’t stop at just a mat though. To help with poses and make your practice more comfortable, you’ll need a few other essentials. Bolen recommends getting a yoga block, yoga strap and pillows or bolsters.
Another tip? “Get yourself some great workout clothes,” says Bolen. “Treat yourself to something you feel good in.”
3) Create a Zen Space
One thing that’s great about yoga studios is their airy, bright, totally Zen atmosphere. They can completely transport you away from dirty dishes, laundry and electronics. That said, practicing yoga at home can be even more special, because you can really personalize your own space.
“I think creating a space is the most important way to ensure you’ll be successful in your home yoga practice,” says Bolen.
The key to continuing yoga at home? “Lay your mat out and make sure you leave it out,” says Bolen. “If you leave it out, every time you walk by, you’ll be reminded to do yoga.”
She also recommends choosing a space with no distractions: “no TV, no bed, no clutter.”
The fun part? “You can make it more beautiful as you go along, with candles and pillows and things like that,” she says.
4) Follow Free Yoga Routines Online
“What I like to do for my home yoga practice is do it as soon as I get up,” says Bolen. “I just get out of bed and do it right then. It helps me stay in the routine.” Luckily for at-home-yogis, Bolen has some great YouTube videos to get you started with your at-home practice.
A great short sequence to start with is her Sun Salutations video. ” Try doing a few each morning when you get out of bed,” says Bolen.
If staying motivated isn’t your strong suit, check out her video on how to stay committed to a regular yoga practice.
There are lots of other videos to check out on her YouTube show, Surviving Yoga. Be sure to check out other resources as well – Yoga Journal has some great free videos, for beginner, intermediate and advanced yogis. And be sure to check out these yoga poses for boosting energy, helping you sleep and staying young.