By Cassandra Rosas
Link to original article.
Whether you are an avid yoga practitioner or completely new to yoga, sometimes you just need a moment with yourself to slow-down and relax, and this practice seems to be perfect for that purpose, to reconnect with your body through your breath, attention to movement, and to the present moment. If that is your case, you may be wondering how to create an ideal space at home that helps with relaxation and focus, which is why we gathered the expert’s advice on how to achieve that vibe at home and the recommended exercises to do safely, either on your own or following an online or a virtual yoga class. So keep reading to discover what the experts told us!
Where would you set up a dedicated yoga space at home, and what do you need for this?
The ideal space to practice is usually the quietest one. You don’t need lots of space but plenty of natural light is always good. Clear the space of clutter as much as possible – even if it’s only the area around your mat or the end of the room where you are practicing. The less distractions, the better. I always like to face a window as it’s lovely to have the sun on your face or be able to see the sky or trees. You just really need your yoga mat and props if you use them. A plant or two can really help to make the space feel calm and more relaxing. Use an essential oil spray and mist the space before you start. Spend time sitting and connect to your breath.
By Nichi Green from The Yoga Space
How can you create the perfect ambience in your yoga space to help with relaxation and concentration?
In a perfect world, we would all have a room dedicated to our yoga practice -but in reality, we often have to tuck our mat between the bed and the wall. You can make the most out of your space, or lack thereof, by attending to lighting, props, and sound. Overly bright lighting can be overstimulating, so consider adding dimmers to your overhead lights or turning on a smaller light source such as a lamp. Your props will help to make your practice more comfortable, so make sure you have at least enough room to have them nearby. Ideally, you should have enough room on either side of you, not only for your props but also to take a supine twist on each side. Lastly, many people find music to be a soothing addition to their practice. Music can not only reduce the effect of distracting noises but also it can have a powerfully soothing effect on your nervous system.
By Cristina M. Kuhn from Yoga Medicine®
How would you achieve the ideal Zen vibe at home for your yoga practice?
We would say there’s not one specific answer to this question, but overall you would need to make sure you create a corner or room with a totally different atmosphere. Don’t just start a yoga class in your living room or home office without changing some stuff around. Get out of your day to day surroundings and create a space where you can get extra zen and escape from everyday life.
By Chris Bakker from Onefit
Which yoga styles are best for trying at home?
Restorative and gentle Hatha are the best for practicing at home. They are slower, so less likely to injure- Iyengar too if you know it.
Ashtanga and vinyasa are more vigorous and only should be a home practice if you have already learned from an experienced teacher who has taught correct form, breathing, and focus.
Nidra and yin can be done at home too, but it might be more beneficial to have someone guiding you online.
Kundalini is quite challenging to do on your own, so I suggest online or using manuals if you have studied it before!
Any of these forms can be found online if you are not versed enough to practice at home. However, if you are new to Yoga, the first two mentioned would be safest and very beneficial.
By Donna Amrita Davidge from Sewall House
Which aspects should we consider when picking the type of yoga to practice from home?
When practicing yoga at home, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a class.
First, I highly recommend that you attend classes with a live instructor (whether in-person or virtually) who has met you face-to-face. Visual information gives yoga teachers a lot of information about how we can help you align yourself in any given yoga position. Additionally, the relationship between an instructor and student is very important in your overall comfort and it’s difficult to build this without any live interaction. Although YouTube classes can be a great way to try out yoga, there is no denying that real progress usually comes from studying with a live teacher.
Second, make sure the class you pick won’t utilize props you don’t have. Usually, we can give some ideas for DIY props you can use at home. But if you’re attending a Restorative or Yin class and don’t have some combination of pillows, blankets, bolsters, blocks, and/or straps, the class might be very challenging for you. If you pick a Yoga Burn class but don’t have any free weights, the class may not be challenging enough. If you don’t have a yoga mat, you can use a towel instead.
Third, if you’re just starting out, very inflexible, or recovering from a significant injury, picking a very fast-paced or difficult class (level 2 or 3, power yoga, ashtanga yoga, etc.) may not suit your body just yet. You might prefer to start in a gentle, beginner, or level 1 class to get your bearings before you advance your practice so that you don’t hurt yourself. Remember, there’s no rush!
Most importantly, practicing yoga should feel good. If you ever feel pain, back off and consult with a registered yoga teacher (RYT).
By Erin Haddock from Five Keys Yoga, LLC
What is the easiest style of yoga to start practicing at home as a beginner and should be taken into consideration?
If you are new to yoga, welcome! When you first start, it’s great to work with a yoga teacher 1-on-1 so that they can access your current fitness level, help you to learn the correct breathing and poses, and help you work with any injuries or pre-existing conditions. If that is not accessible to you financially, I would recommend trying a slow flow class or a level 1 Hatha vinyasa class. If you don’t see these types of classes on your local studio’s schedule, reach out to the studio to ask them what the most beginner-friendly class is! Always make sure to let your yoga teacher know if you have any injuries or anything going on in your body so that they can help you modify poses. Once you are familiar with the basics of yoga, it’s great to try a variety of classes to see what you like most.
By Amanda Kingsmith from Mastering the Business of Yoga
What is the easiest yoga sequence for a beginner to do at home?
An easy way to start your yoga practice at home is the traditional Sun Salutation A, which is a set sequence of yoga poses that are linked to each other in order to create a smooth flow of movement.
Once you’ve found a nice and calm spot at home to roll out your yoga mat, step on the front of the mat with the feet hip-width apart. Bring your hands in front of your heart, close your eyes and take a few breaths to tune into your body.
On an inhale, open the eyes and lift the arms up over your head. Exhale and bow forward, bringing the fingertips to the ground. You can bend the knees as much as needed.
With the next inhale, make a big step back with the right leg so that you’re in a runner’s lunge position. The fingers are still on the ground, and you lift the chest and the head up.
Exhale and step the left leg back as well to arrive in the iconic position of Downward-Facing Dog. Lift the buttocks up and push the tailbone back until your ears are between the biceps. You can keep the knees bent to have more space to tilt the pelvis forward and lengthen the back. Imagine the pose as an upside-down V.
With your next inhale, shift your body weight forward so that your shoulders are stacked above the wrists, and you arrive in a push-up position. Exhale and lower the body down to lie on your belly. Lift your head and chest up with the inhale and exhale to return to Downward-Facing Dog. Feel free to stay here for a few breaths and tune into your body again.
With an inhale, step the right foot forward between your hands (or grab the foot and place it there) and lift the chest and head up again. You’re now in the same runner’s lunge position as in the beginning, just with the other leg in front. Exhale and step the left foot forward to meet the right one at the front of your yoga mat. With the inhalation, you lift the torso back up into a standing position and bring the arms overhead. Exhale to bring the hands in front of the heart again. You are now in the starting position and can repeat the same sequence starting with the left leg.
As you may have noticed, this is a closed-loop, and you can repeat it as many times as you like. This simple sequence moves all the limbs of the body in various directions. Depending on the speed at which you perform it, it also trains your cardiovascular system, raises your awareness and calms your mind.
If you’re looking for more inspiration for your at-home yoga practice, check out TINT Yoga, where you can train with the world’s greatest yoga minds and find classes for all levels.
By Doreen Stolle from TINT Yoga
What is the best advice you can give us for practicing yoga at home?
To experience the most benefit from your yoga practice, consistency is key. And to develop consistency in your home yoga practice, your best bet is to make Yoga a part of your daily routine. Many people find that the best time to practice Yoga is first thing in the morning before their children wake up, and other life responsibilities take over their day. Everybody is different, so you’ll have to figure out what works best for you. Are you more likely to be able to practice during your lunch hour, after work, or before bedtime? Spend a little time reflecting on what time will work best for you, then commit to it by scheduling it as an appointment on your calendar. Make your best effort to practice every day, but if life gets too busy and you miss your practice one day, don’t stress over it. Just try again the next day.
The second key to developing a successful home yoga practice is finding the right style for you. There are many, many styles of Yoga. You can find Yoga that is fitness-based, spiritual, gentle, strong, beginner-friendly, chair-based, relaxation-focused – the styles of Yoga are endless. Start out by trying a class or video. If you love it, great! If you don’t love it, try something else. You’ll eventually find a yoga practice that’s just the right fit. Yoga can provide so many benefits for your body and mind; it’s just a matter of finding the right approach for you.
By Zelinda Yañez from The Yoga Room
What kind of props do we need to have at home for a restorative yoga session?
Restorative Yoga is an incredibly beneficial tool, especially for busy, stressed, or very active people. On our 4-day Restorative Yoga Course at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre we teach participants how to use an abundance of blankets and bolsters to correctly set up positions to support their bodies to allow them to fully relax in each pose. While there is an abundance of websites and shops selling a myriad of yoga props, you can always just make do with soft furnishings you have at home.
If you are practicing some Restorative poses at home, you can use any blankets or cushions you have around the house and adapt by rolling or folding them to meet the needs. You don’t even need a yoga mat! You could use a blanket, a rug, or just a carpet as your base. If you choose to, then I would say the number one prop to invest in is a yoga bolster. This will make it easier for you to set up for and be properly supported in key Restorative poses.
One of the most beneficial Restorative poses is legs up the wall. You simply set yourself up at right angles to a wall, torso on the ground, sit bones up against or close to the wall, and – as the name suggests – legs up the wall! All you need for this pose is a blanket to lie on … and a wall.
Restorative Yoga can help with physical, emotional, and mental issues by restoring balance. Practicing just a few key poses regularly can assist those working with conditions such as high blood pressure, adrenal and chronic fatigue and is particularly useful for women’s health and for pregnant women. Restorative Yoga offers supported postures that facilitate the passive release of tension stored in the body, activates that parasympathetic nervous system, and allows for deep, nourishing rest.
For more information on the 4-day Restorative Yoga Course go to Byron Yoga Retreat Centre
By Becky Buckwell from Byron Yoga Centre
Which tips can you give us to create a yoga sequence to practice at home?
Cultivating a home practice is an important part of developing an authentic relationship with Yoga. Practitioners can create simple sequences at home that help them intuitively connect to their breath and their body. When we develop the skills to create sequences for our home practice, we strengthen our bond with Yoga. Follow these steps to create safe and accessible sequences for your home practice.
First, find a place to roll out your mat. You want the space to be bright, clean, and relatively quiet if possible. You might want to bring in items that help you connect to your practice like blocks, bolsters, blankets, and a strap. It’s nice to add little touches that help you connect to the five elements like incense, crystals, singing bowls, or salt lamps. If you have space and the supplies to make your yoga space your own, you will be more likely to practice.
Next, you want to start slowly. Explore your range of motion in the hips, shoulders, and spine. Notice where you are tight, where you are more flexible, and where you feel unstable. You might start in a tabletop position or flat on your back; from here, you can move the legs, arms, and spine to notice where there is sensation. Link your movements to your breath. If you are looking for energy, you can use your inhales when you expand and exhales when you contract.
An example of this is cat and cow poses. When you inhale in cow you are bringing breath into the body when the spine is in extension. When you exhale in cat, you are releasing breath when you contract and flex the spine.
Keep moving with the breath and adding on postures that increase flexibility in areas where you feel tight and adding postures which build strength in areas that feel more flexible. When we build strength and flexibility, we increase stability overall. An example of a pose that invites flexibility in the hips might be Warrior II and an example of a posture that builds strength in the pelvis is crescent lunge. Listen to your body, resist the urge to push yourself to your edge. We actually want to work within our range of motion so that our range of motion and strength will build over time. When we lean into our edge, we can invite injury.
Take up space and express yourself as you feel appropriate. A home practice is a beautiful way to develop a deeply personal relationship between yourself and your body. Listen to your body, honor your body, and use your breath to bring your awareness back onto the mat when you get distracted. Over time, your practice will help quiet the mental chatter that distracts us from our present moment. When this happens, you can start to notice how your body responds to certain postures; you can use your breath to regulate your nervous system and maintain balance and peace of mind.
Developing a home practice and sequencing intuitively is easy to do when you listen to your body through a process of self-inquiry. Over time, this will help you take these valuable skills off the mat and into your life.
By Michelle Young from My Vinyasa Practice
Which tips can you give us to make time for our yoga practice at home and stick to it without losing motivation?
When it comes to practicing at home, we realize that it can be tough to stay focused. That is why we have a few recommendations that will help you find focus and clarity as you work to build your home practice:
By Jess Bycraft from Torch Yoga
Which yoga postures do you recommend practicing to ease the fatigue of working from home?
One of the greatest challenges of working from home is inertia. We’re spending a lot more time seated with fewer reasons to get up, get supplies, move to another room for meetings, or interact with co-workers. This can lead to sluggishness and mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon lag. Movement is a natural neuromodulator and can help improve focus and productivity, so get up and try this simple sequence once or twice a day.
You can check this YouTube video to help guide you with the movements.
By Sara Curry from Blaze Yoga & Pilates
Which asanas do you suggest doing for pregnant women who want to do prenatal yoga at home?
Yoga is great for pregnancy, but one has to be careful that they don’t ‘overstretch’, which can happen because the body produces ‘relaxin’ in preparation for birth. Once overstretched, ligaments cannot go back to ‘normal’.
In my experience, having taught many prenatal yoga classes, there is one particular pose that I would specifically recommend….
This pose helps not only stretch fascia, but can help with a common pregnancy condition; plantar fasciitis, and help prepare for the ‘discomfort’ of labor, enabling the practitioner to ‘breathe through the discomfort’.
Come to all fours, bring knees together and curl toes under behind you. Reach back to curl any reluctant toes under.
Have a folded blanket handy, which can be placed between the calves and back thighs if necessary, so there is no discomfort in the knees
Bring the sit bones to the heels and roll the inner thighs towards the floor. Take one hand at a time to the kneecap and lift the knees slightly to release any tightness around the knees. Lift the pelvic floor muscles and draw the lower abdomen (between the pubis and naval) back to lengthen the flesh of the buttock down towards the toes and avoid overarching the lower back.
Sit up straight with a long spine, take a deep breath in, and open the arms to the sides in line with the shoulders, palms facing forward. Draw the arms back to open the chest, but careful not to overarch the lower back.
With a full breath out, sweep the arms forward, place the palms together and tuck the chin towards the chest so you get a stretch in the upper back muscles and lengthen the whole back of the spine.
Repeat as many times as possible – 10 times if possible, then lower the hands, and untuck the toes.
We call this pose ‘Toecrushna’
By Suzanne from 532Yoga
What kind of asanas do you recommend for a pregnant woman to do at home?
Modified yoga poses and movement can really ease the aches and pains that come along with pregnancy. Try a “down dog at your countertop” by placing your hands on the kitchen counter or a table with arms straight. Move your feet back about 3-4 feet and lean your chest forward until your torso is parallel to the floor, and you feel a nice stretch in the shoulders.
By Jess Pierno from Yoga Heights
Which items and props would you suggest having at home for practicing yoga with kids?
The only thing you need at home to practice Yoga with kids is space to move. A yoga mat is nice, but not necessary.
We suggest eliminating, or at least minimizing, all distractions (especially screens), including props, until children are in their teen years. What’s needed most working with growing bodies, brains, and hearts is presence. Your full attention – playful, calm, and connected. This is the greatest gift you can give.
Parents and children of all ages can breathe, move and rest together modelling nature’s teachers like mountains, stars, trees and animals or download our IYK® High 5 Method for all ages. These healthy, happy habits help you be Your Best YOU and create a Positive Force in our world.
By Michelle Wing from It’s Yoga Kids
What are the best yoga poses to teach kids practicing from home?
Would like some new quick, and easy tools for calming your kids? Perhaps you see the impact of stress and anxiety on your children and want to help? Or maybe you do Yoga and would love to share the benefits with your family.
Welcome to the world of teaching yoga to your kids and to the community of thousands of parents all over the world who are not only doing something fun together but also taking care of the physical, mental and emotional well-being of their children at the same time.
Take just 10 minutes at the beginning of your day to get those little bodies moving, energize them in a calm way, and clear the brain for a focussed, calm, and happy day.
Do this together, and you will both enjoy the benefits of increased health and greater connection.
Top Tips For Yoga With Your Children
Enjoy the magic of seeing your children grow in confidence as their sense of self builds.
If you see the immediate benefit and impact on your children and want to learn more, then come join our kids yoga online training course. It can be one of the most rewarding things you do.
By Loraine Rushton from Zenergy Yoga
Now that you have all the insight and advice from experienced yoga professionals, you can create your special yoga space at home and start putting to practice some of the exercises, postures, and sequences proposed. You’ll see that in no time, you’ll have your yoga routine all settled down.