While some like practicing yoga with fellow yogis at a local studio, others prefer the comfort and privacy of their own home. Begin your mornings with a short yoga session to produce a wide range of benefits, such as increased flexibility, weight reduction, improved energy, better circulatory health, and protection from injuries. While some practice yoga to attain the perfect body, the main goal is to cultivate self-awareness and higher consciousness. Follow these few simple tips when practicing yoga at home.
1. Create a Tranquil Space
Set aside a quiet space in your home to practice your yoga away from other people, pets, and distractions. Move away furniture and other items that could cause injury as you’re engaging in poses. Make enough room to fit your yoga mat, as well as a minimum of two feet surrounding around the mat. You may also want to decorate the room with objects or images that emit peace and restfulness. Also consider putting your mat near a window so that you can enjoy sunlight and fresh air.
2. Set the Mood with Music
Music is a powerful medium that can help set the mood and keep you motivated. Keep a radio, CD player, or iPod with speakers in your yoga space for easy access. While any type of music will do, many yogis find mellow instrumentals to deliver just the right balance of instrument, beat, and tune. Other popular music genres for yoga include classical, ambient, and ethnic music. Some people prefer the intensity of rock or heavy metal music. The right music will help establish emotional awareness for better results.
3. Choose the Right Yoga Mat
Today, there are several types of yoga mats available in a variety of materials, colors, and patterns. First look at the thickness. Standard yoga mats are about 1/8-inch thick. The thickest yoga mats are about 1/8-inch thick while more compact travel mats are a mere 1/16-inch thick. Most yoga mats are made of PVC material. However, there are also natural options like organic cotton, recycled rubber, and jute. You also want your yoga mat to be “sticky” which prevents you from sliding. PVC mats are the stickiest.
4. Bring Your Yoga Outside
Private yoga sessions are not limited to the inside of your home. Take your yoga to the park, beach, or your own backyard. You can even skip the yoga mat if you’re practicing in the soft grass or sand. Forego the music in favor of the sounds of nature, such as the waves rushing against the beach or the trees swaying in the wind. Practicing yoga outside, inspired by nature, can help intensity your experience and improve your focus on awareness, deep breathing, and stillness.
5. Enhance Your Yoga with Props
More complicated yoga poses are not easy to do without the help of props. Different props such as a set of blocks, a strap, or a blanket can make a significant difference in your poses. Using props can also improve your safety by helping you maintain proper alignment and promote comfort. Props can also encourage you to try new poses or to go deeper with the poses you already know which are beneficial for yogis at all levels.
6. Watch Instructional Yoga Videos
If you’re new to yoga or simply want to expand your knowledge, consider watching instructional yoga videos. Available online at Amazon Prime Video, Gaia, Do Yoga with Me, and various other sites, it’s never been easier to get inspired and learn new poses. In addition to instructional videos, you can also join online classes that allow you to watch tutorials, ask questions, and share information with a community of other yogis.
7. Eat Healthy and Clean
Eating clean is an essential component of any healthy lifestyle. For yogis, eating clean can give you the energy you need to perform poses and get stronger and leaner. Start by always eating breakfast which fuels your body and kick starts your metabolism. Try to eat the bulk of your carbs after yoga to help replenish what you’ve burned. If you’re also trying to build or retain muscle, eat protein-rich foods after yoga or other exercise.
8. Engage in Meditation
Incorporating meditation into your yoga sessions is a great way to become more focused and feel more peaceful. If you’re new to meditation, start with just two minutes a day and gradually increase your time. Meditate first thing in the morning to set your mood for the day. To help you focus, try counting your breaths as the air flows through your nose and down into your lungs. If your notice your mind starting to wander, simply return to counting your breaths.
9. Make Yoga a Priority
It’s easy to let work, school, housework, and other priorities take over your life, leaving little time for things you want to do. Make yoga a priority in your life and reap the short-term and long-term benefits. Try to set aside time each morning, even if it’s just a few minutes, to practice yoga. If you’re short on time, have some established yoga poses in mind to do and repeat these each morning. When you have extra time on the weekends, try incorporating new or more complex yoga poses into your daily routine.
10. Keep a Yoga Practice Journal
Not sure if you’re getting the full benefits of yoga? Consider starting a yoga practice journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings directly after practicing can help you gain insight on how you’re performing and progressing. You may also want to write down any questions that pop into your head so that you research them online or ask a yoga instructor. Also write down a list of the poses you do each session.
Yoga has the power to strengthen our bodies, help us relax, and encourage a happier, calmer, and more productive you. If you plan to practice yoga at home, it’s important to prepare by removing distractions and setting the mood. Over time, you can establish an advantageous home “studio” that creates a sense of health and wellbeing.