Contrary to what you may have seen on social media or mainstream channels, yoga is not about being ultra-flexible, performing gravity-defying poses, or contorting your body into pretzel shapes.
It’s a holistic approach to wellness that nurtures your mind, body, and spirit.
There are many people who would benefit from bringing yoga into their lives, but sometimes, when wondering how to start yoga at home or at a studio, it can be pretty daunting.
Starting a yoga practice is a profound step towards enhancing your overall well-being, and its benefits are as diverse as the people who practice it.
Yoga is not just a physical exercise; it’s a philosophy that invites you to explore the deepest corners of your inner self.
For many practitioners, yoga offers a sanctuary of tranquility in this fast-paced world, a space to cultivate mindfulness, and a means to strengthen your body and calm your mind.
Whether you consider yourself to be young or old, to have a flexible or stiff body, whether you can touch the floor with your fingers or not, in this article, we hope to show you that yoga can be for you, too, and how to start yoga.
In this article:
- The Basics of Yoga
- How to Start Yoga at Home
- How to Start Yoga at a Studio
- Learning Yoga: Tips for Beginners
Dive in with us!
The Basics of Yoga
Yoga is far more than just a series of physical postures; it’s a profound philosophy and lifestyle that can transform your entire existence.Before diving into how to start yoga and developing your practice, it’s important to grasp a few basic concepts that can make your first experiences much more enjoyable.
This ancient discipline, with roots in India, offers a holistic approach to life, emphasizing harmony between the mind, body, and spirit.
What is Yoga?
The word “yoga” itself is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” meaning to yoke or unite, symbolizing the union of individual consciousness with universal consciousness.
Its origins lie in the spiritual and meditative traditions of ancient India, with the earliest references found in the Rigveda, one of the oldest sacred texts.
At its core, yoga invites us to explore our inner selves, fostering self-awareness, inner peace, and a sense of unity with all living beings. It’s a journey of self-discovery, a path toward physical well-being, mental clarity, and spiritual awakening.
As you begin your yoga exploration, remember that the beauty of yoga lies in its diversity – it welcomes seekers from all walks of life, regardless of age, fitness level, or background.
How to Start Yoga at Home
When thinking about how to start yoga, your first thought may be to go to an in-person yoga studio.
However, embarking on a home yoga practice can be a deeply rewarding journey that allows you to experience the benefits of yoga in the comfort of your own space, and at your own convenience, and is often a more affordable option as well.
Here are some tips on how to learn yoga at home:
1# Create a Dedicated Space
When you as people with a consistent at-home yoga practice what is one of their main secrets for sticking to the practice, one of the answers is often; having a dedicated space.
If you’re able, designate a specific area in your home for yoga practice.
It doesn’t need to be large or fancy; a corner of your living room or bedroom will suffice.
Clear the space of clutter and distractions to create a tranquil environment where you can focus on your practice, and if possible, add some personal elements to the space that will make it feel more inviting and cozy.
2# Gather Essential Equipment
While you don’t need an array of expensive props, a few basics can enhance your practice:
- Yoga mat: having a yoga mat is not indispensable to be able to practice, but it can be of great support. Using a yoga mat provides improved grip as well as cushioning when you’re practicing the asanas.
- Yoga blocks: These are some of the most versatile props you can use when practicing yoga. Blocks are affordable and assist in bringing the ground up to you, making the practice more accessible.
- Yoga blanket: a yoga blanket is easily replaced with a towel as well, and is a versatile prop that you can utilize when practicing asana.
- Meditation cushion: also known as a Zafu, as its name indicates, a meditation cushion is designed to help you attain proper posture and comfort when practicing meditation.
- Bolster: A lovely complement for restorative and yin-like yoga styles, a bolster is another great prop to have handy when starting to practice yoga from home.
- Yoga strap: it aids in stretching and extending your reach, and you can replace it with a belt or a long scarf.
- Comfortable clothing: Although you may have seen certain yoga brands and styles of clothing used when practicing yoga, in truth, there is no particular clothing that you must wear to engage in the practice. We encourage you to wear breathable, flexible attire that allows for free movement, but wear what works for you.
3# Set Your intention
One of the most important and meaningful things you can do when learning how to practice yoga, is being intentional.
In the yogic tradition, this is often known as setting your Sankalpa.
When you set an intention for your practice, it is easier to return to it when you feel like giving up, simply because of the fact that when you know why you practice, the commitment
4# Set a Regular Schedule
If you’re wondering how to start yoga, one of the most valuable tips is to stick with it!
Determine a convenient time for your practice and commit to it regularly, even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes.
Whether it’s in the morning to energize your day or in the evening to unwind, having a routine will help establish your practice as a habit.
5# Choose Your Practice
How to start yoga largely depends on what type of yoga you want to practice, which will largely depend on your Sankalpa; your reason for practicing in the first place.
Select the style of yoga that aligns with your intentions, goals, and preferences.
When getting started, consider exploring styles like Hatha or gentle yoga classes, or even sign up for a few classes or a series designed especially with beginner practitioners in mind.
6# Find Guidance
If you’re still wondering how to start yoga, especially online, know that there is a plethora of online platforms and apps that offer an incredible variety of guided classes, with teachers from all over the world.
This makes it easy to find practices that suit your needs, experience, and desired focus, as well as find a community that feels aligned and supportive.
There is also Youtube!
7# Be Patient and Kind with Yourself
Just like everything new, and everything worthwhile, there may be times when you’ll skip your practice, take too long of a break, or behave in a way that doesn’t align with your newfound values.
Be kind to yourself; remember that the first of the Yamas is Ahimsa; non-harming, and that we must apply that to our own lives first and foremost.
How to Start Yoga at a Studio
When learning how to start yoga at a studio, gym, or physical space, research and explore various yoga studios and teachers.
Just as you would seek out the right online platform, visit different studios, attend trial classes, and observe the teaching styles.
Finding the right studio that resonates with your goals and preferences is an important step in beginning your enriching yoga journey in a group setting.
Learning Yoga: Tips for Beginners
When speaking about asana, the most popular aspect of the practice, there are a few tips we can share with you when learning how to start yoga:
- Yoga is a practice of gradual progress. Start with beginner-friendly classes or poses to build a solid foundation and explore the different aspects of the practice.
- Paying attention to your breath is fundamental in yoga. Practice controlled and mindful breathing (pranayama) to enhance your awareness and calm your mind.
- Proper alignment is crucial for both safety and effectiveness. Listen to cues and use props to ensure you’re accessing the practice in a way that suits you.
- Every body is unique. Avoid comparing yourself to other practitioners. Yoga is about self-improvement, and self-care, not competition. Modify and adapt poses to suit your needs.
Now that you have some more resources and ideas on how to start yoga, we hope you feel inspired to embark on this journey.
If you enjoyed this article, read this next to learn about some of the most common postures to include in your routine.