A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO STARTING A SIMPLE AND EASY YOGA PRACTICE AT HOME
Does it seem like everyone else is doing yoga at home these days and you have no idea where to begin? If you are thinking of starting your own yoga practice (or want to get started again) this will give you a step-by-step plan to begin. Regardless, you are going to be the winner in terms of your own self-care.
Quick overview of Yoga
First, some background about yoga. Yoga has been around for centuries. If you google the origin of yoga, you can find many articles with varying timelines for when it began. The best consensus is yoga has been around for somewhere between 4000 to 5000 years!
If you would like more in depth information on the history of yoga, check out “A Brief Glance at the Origin of Yoga”. Yoga as a workout didn’t really gain popularity in the West until around the 1950’s. If you are just now considering practicing yoga, you are right on time as yoga is essentially timeless.
Some people worry about the connection of yoga to a particular spiritual practice (like the “secret stairway to Hinduism”). While yoga can be spiritual, it isn’t the entry way to Hinduism. Instead, you will be most in touch with yourself while practicing yoga and the spirit within in you. (And, that is obviously open to whatever interpretation you would like to give to it.)
Beginning a Yoga Workout is Simple and Easy
Yoga is more like an exercise program than anything. Although, it doesn’t feel like exercise necessarily – more like something your body needs.
Yoga is simple and easy because it is more stretching and flexibility training than it is cardio. There are versions of yoga you can do (like the fast or hot versions – but those are not for beginners – unless you have an instructor to guide you through).
To begin a yoga workout in your own home, you don’t need to have all that much in the way of equipment and you can do it morning, noon or night (or anytime!). Here are the elements you need to start your own yoga practice and be well on your way to feeling less stressed.
A few things beginners will Need to Start a Yoga Practice
An Open Mind
If you are new to yoga, you may think some of the language the instructors use is a little “woo-woo new agey” or maybe what you are doing is so gentle it can’t be effective. You are going to want to push through the discomfort of trying something new (which is really what those objections are).
Just keep breathing and doing what they tell you to do. Then, evaluate how you feel when you are done (or after you have done a few of the classes before you make up your mind).
Some Loose Clothing
A lot of people wear yoga pants for everything but yoga! You probably already have a pair of what are generally considered yoga pants – stretchy leggings and it doesn’t matter what length they are. Your main concern with your clothing choice is that it not be too constricting as you move through the poses.
Stretchy and comfortable bottoms and tops are the best choice. You are also going to want to be in your bare feet. That’s right, you don’t even need socks or shoes. Socks and shoes will actually hinder your ability to grip your feet to the mat so you have more stability when doing the poses.
The idea in yoga is to spread out your toes and gain better balance too by being barefoot. Another nice thing to have is a hair tie if your hair is long enough to get in your face while doing a downward facing dog pose (the official name is adho mukha svanasana).
basic Equipment needed for a Yoga workout
You will need several things to help you to do the poses correctly. That being said, people have been known to do yoga on the beach with zero equipment other than a beach towel! However, for beginners, having the right equipment to get a good grip (mat), proper stretch (strap), and stability (block) are important.
Suggested Yoga Equipment
- Mat – You will want a yoga specific one.
- Block – If you aren’t super flexible, this will help you modify the positions until you are more flexible
- Strap – This helps you to get the proper stretch without hurting yourself
- Bolster (optional) – A bolster can help with a few poses – child’s pose (where you drape the upper half of your body over it) and sitting cross legged. You can also use a towel or blanket though too.
- Yoga Bag – In case you want to keep all the items together and handy.
See the resources section below for more information/links for each of the above items.
How to find an instructor or source for your Yoga Practice Instruction
You can either do yoga in a class setting in person, or you can do it at home. If you can afford to do a class with an instructor who can see you (either in person or on Zoom), this can be helpful because they can walk you through certain poses if you are really unsure of where to begin.
If meeting in person isn’t possible (hello, Covid!), then you can find many classes online, Apps on your phone, You Tube Videos, channels on your TV or old school with books or DVD’s.
My favorite beginner’s yoga program is by Living Yoga. It is called “The All-Day Yoga Workout” and features Rodney Yee, Susan Deason and Patricia Walden. I still use it after doing yoga for more than 10 years because it is easy, fast, and effective. I also like and recommend “Yoga for Beginner’s”. (You can find these in the resources below).
Yoga is designed for Relaxation and Stress Relief
you will find an Ability to Listen to your own thoughts and body
You are going to have to really pay attention initially as your instructor walks you through the series of poses fairly quickly. The very first time, you might want to observe more than actually participate, or watch and then try to do the pose.
Once you know what to do, you can listen more than watch and just pay attention to your body. Eventually, you will really get the pose right and you will get the most benefit from the practice. You will find amazing insights into your own body and what it can tell you about what you need to reduce the stress in your life.
Just relax and Breathe
Your instructor means it when they say “Breathe in (inhale), breathe out (exhale)” during the poses. Your breathing should be in sync with what they are telling you to do.
There is a method to their instruction and breathing right is part of it. If you do it accurately, you should feel a difference in your level of relaxation at the end. And, you will be able to take this level of relaxation with you throughout your day and utilizing your breath to calm yourself (which is a very key thing to learn).
even more Relaxation – Time for The Corpse Pose
Whatever you do, DO NOT SKIP THE RELAXATION PART AT THE END. This is the most important (and best) part for most of us Moms/Women/Caregivers. This is the time for you to breathe, relax, and let go of any tension you have stored up.
If you do the relaxation poses correctly, and practice, those minutes spent relaxing will make you feel as rested as if you took a long nap – seriously!
Evaluate How You Feel when you complete the yoga workout
When you are done, take your time sitting or standing up. A lot of times you will end up in relaxation pose (above).
You will then roll over onto your side and then get up gently. Sometimes you will feel a little out of it (in a good way) or like you just got up from a nap.
When you can, drink a big glass of water. Then, scan your body to see how you feel overall. You should feel more relaxed than you did in the beginning.
Continue to Practice your simple and easy yoga routine!
The more times you practice yoga, the greater the overall benefit to your body. Assuming you aren’t over doing it and going quickly from one pose to the other or pushing your body past where it can comfortably go. Always remember – if it hurts, don’t do it (as my yoga teacher likes to say).
suggested Resources for starting a Yoga practice
stress relief is waiting. ARE YOU READY TO BEGIN?
You now have everything you need (or have access to resources) to begin your own simple and easy yoga practice. You deserve to feel better in your own body – today and everyday. Enjoy the peace and relaxation a yoga practice can bring to your life.
Hopefully, you will find benefit from doing yoga. I’ve been doing yoga for many years now and I love it. Yoga can calm me down in a very short period of time (20 minutes tops) and generally make me a happier, more peaceful and rested human being.
I highly recommend you add yoga to your arsenal of self-care tools today. Namaste’ – which means – the spirit in me, bows to the spirit in you. Which is just lovely, right?
If you are looking for other ways of practicing self-care, join the FREE self-care challenge here. And, you can also check out these other articles regarding relaxation and self-care:
Enjoy! Leave me a comment below if you decide to try a new yoga practice.