If you’re looking to get into yoga but can’t afford a gym membership (or there isn’t a good quality studio around you) or you want to expand your yoga practice, doing so at home is a really great thing. For years I only did yoga at home from instructions I found in books or online, plus the small amounts my ballet teachers had us do to increase core strength and flexibility.
Of course, you have to learn to be aware of your body, so that you aren’t hurting yourself, and you might train your muscles wrong, but that’s what you can go to class for, even if it’s a drop-in once a month.
Start with a yoga mat!
It’s very easy to get your hands on a yoga mat these days. You can buy them for about $20 at stores like Winners or Marshalls, try out the Gaiam brand which is sold at Chapters, or you can go the more expensive route and get one from a store like Lululemon. I would suggest starting with a cheaper mat, since there isn’t too big a difference in quality. However, the benefit of a store like Lululemon is that you can actually feel the mat better before you buy it, so you know how slippery it is.
On that note, the mat will be a little slippery or sticky at the start.
This is my current mat from Gaiam, bought at Chapters. It’s 4 mm.
My previous yoga mat (from 3 or 4 years ago) is a 3 mm Gaiam mat,
I can’t say that the extra 1mm of mat is that beneficial, or that I’ve noticed it, so don’t worry about that unless you have very bad knees.
Find some space:
Our living room is large enough that if I push the cofee table out of the way, I have lots of space to move my whole body around. You want to be able to reach all around your mat without hitting things, especially if you end up trying balances.
Find some resources:
- YogaWithAdriene – What I’ve always loved about Adriene is her mantra, “find what feels good.” She encourages you to stay on your own mat, and make any modifications necessary to feel good for you.
- Yoga by Candace – Candace is very young and fresh, happens to like powerlifting, and a really encouraging teacher. If you check out her instagram, she has the most beautiful videos of herself playing around with yoga, and it’s super inspiring.
- The Journey JunkieThe Journey Junkie – Allie has lots of helpful articles that explain how to get into certain asanas, how to do cool transitions, and answers to any questions you might have.
- “The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga: An Integrated Approach to Strength, Flexibility, and Focus” by Sage Rountree – great ideas for starting your practice, and talks about how beneficial certain poses are for your cross-training purposes
- “2,100 Asanas” by Daniel Lacerda – for intermediate or advanced yogis, there are tons of modifications on every pose!
Get some props:
Obviously not all of these are necessary, so find what you think will help your body the most.
A blanket – great for extra support in poses, folding under your knees during low lunges, or keeping your warm in savasana!
A pillow– some restorative yoga practices will suggest using a bolster pillow to rest yourself on. Any pillow that can be somewhat stiff will be good for this. I have a throw pillow on my armchair which has the right amount of support for me. If you’re practicing inversions, or don’t want to break your face in crow pose, it’s handy to have a pillow nearby.
Yoga strap- these are very helpful for getting your body into a deeper stretch. If you already have a blanket or towel on hand, you can use one of those instead. Here’s how to use a yoga strap. My yoga strap is actually an old lifejacket strap and I added a d-ring on one side.
Check out this blog post with 9 different infographics on yoga, including this one, to help you find which type of yoga might be awesome for you.