A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Home Yoga Practice

You know the benefits of a daily yoga practice– better sleep, improved flexibility, mobility and balance, greater self-awareness, greater strength, improved posture and energy– the list goes on and on.

So you’ve set up your home yoga space, but now what? What do you do once you arrive on your mat? How to begin let alone stay motivated?

While these are common stumbling blocks, never fear. Here are eight tips to help you get past your fears and start reaping the benefits of a home practice.

 

7 Tips for Starting a Home Yoga Practice  

1) Set Realistic Expectations

The idea of having a dedicated yoga space is to inspire you to practice, not make you feel guilty. Start small by committing yourself to practicing at least once a week at home. By keeping your goal small, you increase your chance of being successful. If you feel motivated to practice more often, all the better. 

Be realistic about duration of your practice, too. When life makes it difficult for you to get on your mat, utilize the “rule of one.” Do one yoga pose. Or take one minute to focus on your breath and set an intention for the day. In the evening, pause before you turn out the light to recall one thing from your day that brought you joy. Even short practices can have a profound effect.

2) Find a Consistent Time to Practice 

When first establishing a home practice, experiment with different times of day and notice how they make you feel. An early morning practice can energize you for the day ahead whereas practicing in the late afternoon or right before bed helps you relax and release stress.

Then find a time of day that consistently works for your lifestyle. Think about when you are most likely to feel motivated to get on your mat.

  • Consider setting your morning alarm 15 minutes earlier so you have time to do a few Sun Salutations before your day begins. 

 

  • Turn off the TV 30 minutes before bed and use the time for a calming, restorative practice to induce relaxation and restful sleep.

 

  • Commit to doing 10-15 minutes of stretching at the end of your day as soon as you arrive home from work, for practice. It will set you up to be more present with your family. 

 

Linking your yoga practice to activities already part of your daily routine can help you build consistency.

3) Start with Quiet

Once you find yourself on your mat, start by centering yourself with your breath. Take four to five long, slow breaths and check in with yourself: What do you notice in your body? How is your energy level? What emotions or thoughts are swirling inside you?

When you begin with stillness, you give yourself time to observe how your body and mind feel. This information will guide you in deciding what kinds of practices will be most nourishing. 

 

 

4) Set an Intention

Using the information you’ve gathered from spending a few moments in quiet, choose a focus for your practice.

If your mind is agitated, you might chose a grounding practice that roots you to the earth. You could also choose to move more slowly and mindfully in order to calm your mind. Tired and pressed for time? Practice a few restorative poses or opt for a more energizing practice to shake off lethargy and get your blood moving. 

The more you tailor your practice to your personal needs, the more strength, energy and inner calm you’ll have in the long run. 

5) Move in All Directions

To create a complete practice, choose at least one pose for each direction the body moves—leaning side to side, forward and back, twisting, and turning upside down (which could be as simple as Downward Facing Dog or a standing forward bend). By doing this, you’ll create a practice that will feel satisfying and also supports the health of your spine.

 

6) Choose Poses You Love

Incorporate poses you love from your favorite weekly yoga class. Most likely these are the poses that feel good to your body because they help you release tension in your body. Don’t get hung up on sequencing. Just choose your favorites and do them. Over time you’ll discover a flow that is just right for you.

7) Don’t Skip Savasana!

To reap the greatest benefits from your personal practice, it’s vital to take time for relaxation in Savasana. During Savasana, your nervous system assimilates the benefits it has gained during your practice. Make time for at least two to five minutes of stillness before you step off your mat. You’ll be happy you did.

 

WIth consistency and perseverance, your home yoga practice will help you feel more steady and grounded throughout your day. For tips on setting up a home yoga space, check out this blog.

Be well!

 

 

published 7/5/21; updated 6/9/24

Wisdom Tree Yoga’s goal is to share the transformative benefits of yoga with real people living with real life challenges. We welcome students of all levels, offering a safe, supportive environment that is inclusive, accessible, compassionate, and joyful.



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