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Yoga for Beginners: Cultivating a Free Yoga Practice at Home source: unsplash

Yoga for Beginners: Cultivating a Free Yoga Practice at Home

Yoga in a studio? Na’maste at home.

“Wait really?” We can almost feel those eyebrows raise.

Hell. Yes.

Don’t get us wrong, we cherish everything a yoga studio offers—the community of bodies consciously stretching, the gentle guidance of a yoga teacher, the collective OM-tastic vibrations reverberating within its walls, and the beautiful piles of comfy serape-stitched blankets (swoon!) to pad our overly-sensitive knees—these all share a solemn space in our hearts.

a healthful yoga practice does not require a studio, a class, or even a yoga mat.

That said, a healthful yoga practice does not require a studio, a class, or even a yoga mat. In fact, because a lot of yogis simply can’t afford the cost of a weekly yoga class or the time it takes to head over to a class, a home yoga practice can serve as a convenient way to twist, balance, and unwind without sacrificing a lot of your time or your wallet.

And you know what? We actually prefer it.

 

yoga at home Source: Lena Bell on Unsplash.com

 

Why? We love that we can just focus on our form and work on poses for longer stretches of time. We like that when we fall, we don’t feel that embarrassing rush of blood that turns our faces bright beet red. We enjoy developing our inner mirrors to heighten our awareness. And plus, yoga in the nude is always an option at home!

Above all else, we yearn for those solitary morsels of time which welcome stillness. It’s quite the rarity in today’s world. We are constantly impacted by a spectrum of stimuli in our environment. Birds cat-calling a neighborly cat. The roar of an incessant lawn mower. A baby crying. The cacophony of stand-still traffic. The blinking screen through which you’ve found this article. And you’ll experience this mélange of noises at home, along with life’s other distractions. Acknowledge and welcome them—they are a part of the day’s symphony and they’ll gracefully take part in your practice! Welcome the opportunity to check in with yourself. Yoga comes from within, and with that in mind, it can be done anywhere, but especially and ever so sweetly, within your own home. How liberating!

Our homes are sacred places. We eat, sleep, laugh, and occupy our most authentic selves in our homes. You will discover that a home practice can offer you much-needed solace, providing you the space to zone in and observe, and perhaps attain some flexibility and clarity. So whether you are trying to save money, time, or simply want to supplement your regular yoga classes so you can finally land that pesky crow pose without faceplanting, an at-home practice has your back!

Every body is a yoga body.

Before we get into some prep tips, we want to make a rather compelling point. Every body is a yoga body. Don’t let those picturesque, headstand-posed photos of impossibly fit yogis alongside scenic cliffs you’ve seen littered all over IG fool you into thinking that your body can’t do what they do. So if you’re a beginner or you haven’t given yoga a shot because of a similar negative train of thought, let it go. It doesn’t serve you. Any body can do yoga, and every body and every practice is perfectly different. Now that’s compelling and downright (or rather down-dog) beautiful! Yoga isn’t only about getting physically fit, although trust us, pinching a little time out of the day for a 15-20 minute session will not only make you mentally and physically strong, but will also make you see muscles you never knew were there! It’s all about aligning your mind, body, and spirit. It’s about moving your body to move your mind.

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Now that we’ve got that delightful tidbit out of the way, here are some useful tips to set up your new home flow:

  1. Establish your space. Pick sun-drenched nook with a delicate breeze. Got a yard? That’s a fresh spot! If those aren’t available, pick a flat place somewhere that brings you the most peace, perhaps near a window with a view. Outstretch your arms. That’s how much space you need. Simple, right?
  2. Grab your stuff. Remember:  all you really need is your body and an open mind. Everything else is extra. A yoga mat is definitely useful, but if you’re just beginning and don’t have a mat quite yet, a towel will suffice! These are also pleasant additions:
    Comfortable clothes. Wear something comfy that makes you feel confident.
    A block and a strap both help in modifying poses.
    Essential oils (our current recommendations are eucalyptus, ylang ylang, jasmine, and geranium) for continuous whiffs of calm and relaxation.
    A smaller towel or blanket to keep to the side (remember those sensitive knees?).
    A water bottle, because water is paramount.
    Some tunes (for a restorative session, listen to Avishai Barnatan or Sigur Rόs, but any rejuvenating instrumental music is perfect).
    YouTube for guidance, especially for beginners (we’ll get to that a little later).
    A clementine—because just in case, you know?
  3. Erect a shrine & decorate your yoga space. Include anything that makes your heart flutter. Candles, crystals, incense, macramé, a photo of things idyllic, that iridescent rock you found on that beach somewhere you can’t quite place—all are ingredients to a delicious practice. Plants are your best friends and can lighten any corner. Shrines not for you? Take the minimalist route! If you have slight nomadic tendencies, roll out your mat and start practicing wherever it feels right that day. You do you!
  4. Set intentions & mantras. Your intentions and mantras are yours. They can be literal, spiritual, or anything in between. A simple yet compelling daily mantra to start with is, “Today, I am grateful.” It can be that simple. Intentions and mantras are powerful mind-altering tools for centering yourself and maintaining presence.
  5. Celebrate and be proud of your space, then get started! After taking a few deep breaths, go for it! Listen to your body and tend to its needs. Tap into your inner mirror (and maybe an actual mirror at first if one conveniently available). Bask in your moon and sun salutations, energize yourself with a few vinyasas, transition to the beat of your own breath, release whatever tension or stress you may be carrying, and if you need some added guidance as a yoga beginner…let me enthusiastically introduce you to the home girl, Adriene.

Yoga with Adriene


Yoga with Adriene is a gem in the Youtube fitness world. Her inclusive channel has introduced millions of people to yoga and all its benefits. Adriene Mishler offers well over a hundred online yoga videos for free for just about every occasion and for every person, no matter what level you’re at (and even in the more “advanced” videos, she provides helpful modifications so beginners are never left out).

Want to lose weight? She has a yoga weight loss series that’ll treat you kindly. Are you a runner or a swimmer? Adriene has vids just for you. Can’t sleep? There’s a bedtime video for that. Do you suffer from migraines, anxiety, loneliness, or even a broken heart? She’s got that covered, too. Whether you’re in the mood for Hatha, Ashtanga, restorative yoga, power yoga, or new breathing techniques, Adriene meticulously describes how to do each pose with ease, and instills within her students an awesome feeling of confidence that sticks with you.

Adriene challenges the concept of “yoga robots”— yogis who robotically move from pose to pose for sole sake of toning or “mastering” each pose. As a teacher, she encourages organic movement with her inspiring motto, “Find what feels good,” to go off the beaten path for self-discovery! Participate in one of her three 30-day yoga challenges to kickstart your practice, or commit to doing one of her morning sequences at least twice a week before heading to work or school to get a boost in energy that no coffee can give you! Each video is considerately curated to heal you from the inside out, no matter what level you’re at. Yoga with Adriene is truly a gift, and you can use this gift as a catalyst to formulate your own yoga sequences.

 

yoga for beginners Source: Unsplash

 

“So How Do I Keep This Thing Going?” Keep a loose schedule that motivates you to hop on the mat. When you stray away from your home practice, turn on Yoga with Adriene. It’s like pressing the restart button. Or challenge yourself to just stay on your mat for five minutes, focus on your breathing, and see what happens. Discover our favorite motivational yogis on Instagram and draw inspiration from their practices!

Remember that by actively choosing to do yoga, you are choosing to feel great, you’ll look great, and you can nurture your newfound awareness and hopefully treat life with a bit more ease. Yoga is about presence, it’s about radical self-love and self-acceptance for where you’re at that day, and every day is different. The inevitable blah days will occasionally poke their heads up and make it challenging to keep it going. It’s only natural. Embrace the challenge. Have patience with yourself. Set small goals and think small. Think, “anyone can set aside 15 mins for yoga” and that can be all you need to keep your practice fresh. A little really goes a long way, and ultimately it’s about the process, not the result. And above all else, have fun! If you fall, then wiggle and giggle it out. Laugh at yourself—and we mean the deep belly kind of laughs. Hug your bones, lay them down, let your weight feel 100 times itself, and notice how being alive feels today.

Best wishes to you as you embark on your home yoga journey. And the next time someone tells you that yoga is only truly yoga in a studio, tell ‘em…

there’s no place like OM!

@SHOPTOBI