There is no time like the present to start doing yoga at home, especially as a beginner. Yoga can benefit both your body and mind. It can tone your body, assist in weight loss, reduce stress, increase flexibility, and improve your mental health. At home you can take classes that accommodate your schedule and find instructors that resonate with you. Practicing yoga can be a great outlet to help you stay active while being easy on your joints. Soon enough you might go from doing yoga at home as a beginner learning basic poses to doing arm balances that you didn’t think you were capable of.
Please note that I am not a fitness professional. I am simply sharing my 6+ years of experience practicing yoga and what I have learned. For more information please see my disclaimer page.
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Important Notes if Starting Yoga at Home for the First Time
Practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home can take away some anxiety that is natural as a beginner. What if you don’t know the moves? What do you do if you fall out of a pose? If you can’t keep up, do you stop? When you’re at home, none of this matters. Take all the time you need at your own pace.
The downside to practicing yoga at home however is there is no instructor to correct you, or for you to ask questions. The most important tip as a beginner is that you should not force your body into anything that feels painful or “not right”. You might feel poses that are a slight stretch or very slight discomfort as your body isn’t used to being in certain positions, but it should never be overwhelming. Always start with the most basic pose. Instructors will give options to modify, or if you’re feeling good, progressing into more advanced poses. Do not move into something that doesn’t feel right.
What you need to start a yoga class at home
The main equipment you need to get started at home is a yoga mat. Gaiam offers extremely affordable mats that are good quality. They have the perfect yoga beginner’s kit that I would recommend. I have had two Gaiam mats and find them to be perfect mats for budget-conscious beginners. They also have some really fun colors and patterns. I’m a big fan of this reversible metallic sun & moon mat.
The yoga mat that will last throughout your yoga adventures is the pro lite mat from Manduka. This is one of the highest regarded yoga brands for good reason, their products last. They even have a manufacturer guarantee against any wear and tear. Although it may seem like a steep investment upfront as a beginner, it actually might save you in the long run if you don’t need to replace your mat down the line.
Yoga Blocks & Other Props
As a beginner, or even advanced, you should definitely have a yoga block or something similar available. These props ensure you have proper alignment and can help ease pressure on your body. Books, cardboard boxes, etc. can be used in place of a block if you don’t have the budget for it (although home items might be slightly uncomfortable and not super stable). Try a cork yoga block (my preference: it feels more firm and stable to me than others) or foam yoga block.
Two other common props in yoga are a yoga blanket and yoga strap. The blanket helps alleviate pressure in certain poses that might bother your knees and can help prop you into more comfortable positions for Shavasana. Yoga straps help with flexibility and getting deeper into certain poses. For both of these if you aren’t able to purchase them up-front you can substitute with household items such as a regular blanket or towel.
Find your yoga spot at home
Choose a calm spot that is out of the way of any distractions. If you share your living space with someone, try to choose a different room where you cannot hear anything else going on. If you have the option, being near a window is great for light and air. Some people prefer to practice in the dark too. Feel free to light candles or incense or anything else that makes you feel comfortable.
For additional tips on choosing the best room to practice yoga in check out my post on how to build a daily yoga routine at home.
Yoga Classes for Beginners
As a beginner, don’t get caught up in all the different types of yoga. From Bikram to Vinyasa to Ashtanga to Hatha, it can be overwhelming. Instead, look for classes offered for beginners that will teach you basic poses. In yoga it’s especially important to have a solid base before moving on to more advanced postures or faster-paced classes.
When starting out a new yoga practice consider experimenting with multiple apps, studios, videos, etc. to figure out what works best for you. Once you find an instructor or studio you enjoy, stick with them. It will help you learn faster if you know what their method of teaching is. There are virtually hundreds of options to choose from, here are some of the best options for beginners.
Beginner Yoga Class Options
- Yoga With Adriene (Youtube): Free. One of the most (if not the most) popular yoga instructors on youtube. Her down to earth attitude is refreshing and she is a great instructor. She offers plenty of videos from beginners to advanced.
- Yoga for Beginners (App): Free. I have not tried this but it is very positively reviewed and one of the most popular yoga apps. It’s also completely free and many reviewers have felt they were able to learn yoga fundamentals from it.
- Modo Yoga NYC (Studio class): $8/drop-in online class. I used to regularly take these classes in person, and now online. This studio is where I learned the fundamentals of yoga. Try the “Modo” classes as a beginner.
- Peloton Digital (App): $13/month. I have used this during their free trial and I enjoyed it. I feel it’s better suited for beginners than advanced, and the production value of the classes is top-notch. You are able to select your type of yoga class and the intensity level. You can even follow your favorite instructors across other activities and social media (many go on to have a type of “celebrity” status).
- Yoga Studio by Gaiam (App): I have not tried this app extensively but it is well-reviewed and from a yoga brand I trust. Their intro video is very informative about poses and if all of their classes are like that you will learn the basics in no time. They offer beginner videos and even more interestingly a “pose library” that includes instructions and benefits of poses – I wish I had this as a beginner!
The importance of breath
As a beginner it can be overwhelming to learn yoga. Learning different types of yoga, asanas, chakras, what they’re saying in Sanskrit – it’s a lot. Remember though that one of the most important values in yoga is your breath.
The best classes are the ones where you are mindful of your breathing. You will even get to a point where your breath will carry you through poses and will make hard things feel easier. Breathing centers you and will clear your mind. If you find the right breath, it is often you can find a meditative state in it, where you are just completely at ease and can embrace the practice. Being conscious of your breathing can even carry over into your daily life. Sometimes in difficult situations I find myself more aware of my breath and its calming qualities.
Another practice you can look into is Pranayama, which is essentially controlled breathing. This article from Yogajournal about Pranayama is intended for beginners and is a great resource to learn more.
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Don’t be afraid of poses and be consistent in your yoga practice
As a beginner practicing yoga at home, no need to be afraid! Try new poses, as long as they feel safe and within your limits. You might be surprised at what balance and flexibility your body has. As you progress in your classes you’ll also be able to see improvement. What might have seemed impossible in your first class might be something you can easily tackle in your 5th.
It’s so important to be consistent in yoga to really see the physical and mental benefits. Working towards a daily routine is a great goal, and can easily be done at home. Choose the best time of day for your practice, sign up for classes ahead of time, coordinate a schedule with a family member – there are so many ways to stay consistent. Check out one of my other yoga posts for more tips on how to build a daily yoga routine.
I hope these tips helped! Let me know your experiences with practicing yoga. Have you found it to be beneficial? Anything you wish you could tell yourself as a beginner?