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How to Start an At-Home Yoga Practice

How to start yoga practice at home
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Start yoga practice at home in order to keep yourself active and productive. Practicing at home is also an education to your family members who will also get interested in yoga after seeing the benefits you have got. This way you can also ensure sound health of your family members and finally leading a happy family life.

There are leading websites like Yoga Journal; Yoga International that has a very high online presence for authentic yoga information. They are very informative, and I too visit these sites for some guides and tips.

Our yoga guide is slightly different from the guides you find in the internet. We would like to offer you with practical tips on how to start yoga at home for beginners. All these tips followed by me are captured from senior yogis. If you are keen on experiencing a new yoga adventure, but you're not quite sure where to start?

You are lucky! You have clicked the right site that will give you the needed exposure on certain practical tips on the best way to start yoga.

But first let us look in to some basics of Yoga …

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a discipline in which one can balance and harmonize the body, mind and emotions. It is an ancient Indian philosophy that enhances the personal growth and well being. Yoga involves many different processes that require training from experienced teacher.

The nature of yogic practices can affect both psycho-physiological improvements in us. Those practices that stress on mental control are more psychological and those that stress on particular exercises (Hatha Yoga) are more physiological.

What are the benefits of Yoga?

Yoga is an excellent remedy to counter various problems that man is facing in his day to day life. As you know the number of circulating stem cells in the blood stream reduces due to age, acute disease, heavy dosage of antibiotics, pollution, injury, stress, lack of sleep etc.

It is due to this reduction of circulating stem cells in the blood stream, many kinds of organ failure starts and finally aging with poor quality of life. To a great extent this reduction of circulating stem cells can be minimized by performing yoga and pranayama

Here is a list of some excellent yoga benefits! It is proved by studies that performing yoga and pranayama minimum 3 times a week provides glorious health benefits. The site Mitrapura gives very clear yoga benefits and also the connection between yoga and stem cell nutrition.

  • style="font-size:20px">Improves Flexibility
  • style="font-size:20px">Builds and tones muscles
  • Increases blood flow
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Protects joints and cartilage from breaking down
  • Eases pain- physical and emotional
  • Releases tension in the joints and limbs
  • Prevents arthritis
  • Perfects posture
  • Improves balance
  • Boosts heart rate
  • Drains lymph’s and boosts immunity
  • Improves bone health
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Improves focus and clarity
  • Boosts self-awareness
  • Encourages self-care
  • Provides foundation for healthy lifestyle
  • Grounds the nervous system
  • Improves adrenal function
  • Better, deeper sleep
  • Improves digestive system functions
  • Brings peace of mind
  • Encourages compassion
  • Makes people happier

  • The objective behind explaining the basics of yoga is to make you aware how strong is yoga for improving your quality of life and healthy aging. Please keep this fact in mind before you start your yoga sessions.

    So …

    How to Start an At-Home Yoga Practice

    We often tend to browse through internet especially in you tube videos to get to know about yoga and finally end up thinking that they are very tough limb twisting poses, touching ones toes etc. Obviously, for a person who has no physical exercise regime in his daily activities would just run away thinking that yoga is not meant for him.

    It is very wrong to think this way. Yoga is a very simple process of uniting your mind and body through simple poses first. Yoga can be practiced by any one irrespective of age, sex who is sound in health conditions.

    Note: One should consult his physician in case of any injury, medical issues before start of yoga process.

    So never mind if you are less flexible or less stretchable or you are starting late in your 40’s. Just forget all the myths when you are beginning to start yoga.

    Find a local studio to learn yoga

    For beginners the best way to start yoga would be getting the required practical guidance from a trained yoga teacher. Trained teachers can help you to perform yoga poses in the right manner with ease and preventing you from any injuries.

    Never ever, make an attempt to practice yoga from books like ‘how to start yoga by yourself’, ‘how to start yoga at home for beginners’ etc.

    Remember in the beginning you need to be closely assisted by someone who is qualified to train others.

    There are many online courses, videos in the internet, but my recommendations are to opt for the beginner’s course in any well-organized yoga ashram that is situated away from the city. The objective behind this is that ashram environment will give you that energy and vibration more congenial for yoga practice.

    Normally, any beginner’s course encompasses the attitude training practices (Yama and Niyama), steady poses (Asana), breathing control (Pranayama), seal and lock for energy (Mudras and Bandhas), internal purification techniques (Shat Kriyas), and meditation (Dhyana).

    Attending a beginner’s course in a well-organized yoga center will support you even after the completion of the course duration, like organizing weekly follow-up classes to clear all the doubts you have had during home practice.

    Secondly, this will also help you stay connected with the community to share your experiences as a beginner.

    Free PDF copy:This post is 3,141 words long. Click the download button below that summarizes how to start practicing yoga in home!

    Practicing yoga learnt in studio in home.

    Once you had learnt yoga in a studio, you can continue the same in your home. But there is a lot of difference between practicing in the studio and home. A studio helps you practice yoga in the correct manner without mistakes and injury under an expert guide, whereas in home you are your own guide and must create an atmosphere to enhance the efficacy of yoga.

    • Schedule your time for yoga practice

    • You are now on your own. So, allocate the best time in a day to perform yoga. Generally, morning times are ideal. You have had a full night’s rest and woke up fresh for the day, therefore your mind and body are also fresh so make use of this opportunity to do yoga. In case, mornings are not suitable find out alternative schedule.

    • Select a proper place to do yoga in home

    • Your yoga place should be so located that it is free from all disturbances. Ensure to keep this room clean, adequately ventilated, enough room to spread yourself in any yoga pose without hitting any sharp furniture ends. Switch off ceiling or table fans while doing yoga. Keep practicing seriously in this room and you will experience the positive vibrations when entering this room.

    • Select loose fit dress for yoga practice

    • Loose clothes are easy during wide stretches like in case of Sun salutation pose. Ensure that your undergarments are snug fit.

    • Practice yoga in empty stomach after clearing your bowls

    • Food and not cleared bowls pose obstruction while performing yoga. Accumulations of gases in the gut, stomach pain are the common result of ignoring this.

    • Introduce yoga to your family members and friends in home

    • Purpose of staying away from your family members during your yoga sessions in the private place should explained, so that you can get their encouragement and support.

    • Change to consumption of sattvic foods

    • Sattvic foods like fresh fruit, vegetables, honey, seeds and nuts provide two goals: quieting of the mind and governing of a person’s subtle nature of your own selves.

    • Get the right yoga accessories

    • A yoga mat is the first most essential accessory you will have to invest in. There are plenty of yoga mats in the market, but the most suitable for a beginner and professional yogi is a rubber mat which is natural. A rubber yoga mat helps you protect your pointy joints, grip between your hands and the mat and also firm grip between the mat and the floor.

      Rubber mats also work well during hot yoga as it instantly absorbs the sweat. Take a look at this yoga mat review which can help you decide the right one to buy.

      There is no need for any other accessories for beginners.

    • Remove all metal ornaments from your body before starting yoga

    • Wearing of any metal objects like ring, bracelets, necklace, anklets, hairpins, slides, chains, spectacles etc. may cause disturbance of the energy flow in your body. People should also remove wearing spectacles during asana. Accidental hitting of the glass, frames are the normal dangers while performing yoga. Moreover, you also tend to shift your concentration to your glasses during performing asana.

    • Start your yoga practices doing warm up exercises

    • Doing warm up exercises gives you sufficient energy to shift from the state of rest to movements. You might have heard of ‘inertia’ in physics. It is the tendency to do nothing or lethargy. You need to break this tendency and move briskly to start your asana. This is what warm up does. Rotating your shoulders individually clockwise and anticlockwise, similarly rotate your head clockwise and anticlockwise to remove stiffness if any.

    • During asana stretch your limits gradually

    • If you are doing 5 sets of Sun Salutation every day make it a point to increase one more set and then stabilize on it for a week or so. Then increase one more set till you are comfortable. Doing asana this way will generate an enthusiasm to perform even better the next time.

    • Be a regular yoga practitioner

    • In order to get the full benefits of yoga mentally and physically you need to do yoga for at least 4 – 5 times in a week. The objective is to set a rhythm in your body and mind. Once this is done then every work that you perform will be a quality work.

      You can improve muscle strength, good posture, balance, and help flexibility. Yoga can also strengthen your immune system due to release of more stem cells in your blood stream to repair, renew and rejuvenate damaged stem cells thereby reducing your risk of symptoms related to chronic health conditions.

      Keep a track of the days you perform the asana. This will help you to know how many times in a week are you doing yoga. Maintaining consistency is one of the key aspects of asana to derive the full benefits. I keep a note in my calendar and then review every month.

    • Relax at the end of yoga session

    • After one complete session of yoga poses lie down in Shavasana (Corpse Pose). It is a deep relaxation process consciously of the body and mind. This process helps you to consolidate and conserve the energy acquired during the yoga poses. You are fresh mentally and physically to prepare yourself for the following Pranayama and Meditation.

    • As far as possible do yoga in an natural atmospheric condition

    • Never switch on the ceiling fan or any other air blowing equipment while performing yoga. This will stiffen your joints and you will not enjoy doing yoga. Ensure that you sit in a well-ventilated room free from any odor.

    • Avoid consuming cold water during and after yoga asana

    • Yogis practicing Hatha yoga, meditation, pranayama or Kriya should avoid drinking cold water during or after asana. Because, the practice of yoga asana adds heat to fire centers that help the smooth functioning of mind, organs, tissues and especially the whole process of digestion.

      By drinking cold water after yoga asana can smother the Agni (fire) inside you, thereby diminishing the digestion process of breaking down the sugars, fats, proteins and the whole metabolism of the body.

      There is no specific water temperature or timings to consume water after yoga asana, however individuals having kapha dosha, should drink warm water 20−40 minutes after asana; individuals with vata dosha should drink lukewarm water 15−30 minutes after asana; and for pitta dosha consume water at room-temperature 15−30 minutes post-asana. This is broad recommendation for all yogis.

    • Pause after every asana

    • The objective of pausing during transition from one pose to another is to allow your mind and body to be aware of the effects of the previous pose. Enjoy the moments and the quality of your practice. You can then focus on the next pose and prepare mentally and physically before you start the next pose.

    Practicing Surya Namaskar(Sun Salutation) for overall wellness

    Beginners must necessarily practice Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and master this pose. This is the most powerful asana and one can derive various health benefits mainly because this asana is a combination of 12 different poses.

    This pose was practiced by ancient yogis and sages to pay special respect to the Sun around which all the planets revolve around. Sun was considered as an object having the highest energy in the universe, which is useful to all the living creatures in the earth.

    By regularly practicing Surya Namaskar one can enhance the solar plexus situated behind your navel. This is the internal sun and is the third chakra responsible for crystal clear decision making, confidence, creativity, and leadership skills. This is why yoga guru’s recommend you should practice Surya Namaskar right from the first class.

    The various stages of Surya Namaskar are as under.

    1. Pranamasana

    This is the pose we normally do during offering prayers to our almighty. Position yourself correctly in the top edge of the yoga mat with both your feet closed to each other and hands in the sides. Stand upright on your mat with your both feet closely aligned. Inhale deeply, expanding your chest and relaxing your shoulders.

    While you inhaling, raise your arms from the sides. And during exhaling, join your palms together like greeting someone (Namaste). This is the first salutation towards the sun.

    2. Hastauttanasana

    Here you should breathe in and lift your arms from the previous pose up and bend backwards slightly. Ensure to keep your biceps close to your ears during this time. No change in the position of the feet in this position.

    3. Hasta Padasana

    Exhale, and bend forward from the waist. Keep your knees straight bend down and touch the ground. Your palms should be straight touching the ground.

    4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana

    Next breathe in, and stretch your body parallel to the ground. Keep your hands to the side, and bring your right knee towards the right part of the chest and let your left leg stretch behind. Look up.

    5. Dandasana

    Next as you inhale, position your right leg also backwards aligning your entire body parallel to the ground. This is the stick pose.

    6. Ashtanga Namaskara

    This is important pose and it represents the salutation pose using eight parts of the body touching the floor (two hands, two feet, two knees, chest and, chin are the eight parts of the body). From the Dandasana pose, gently bring down your knees towards the floor and exhale. Slowly rest your chin on the floor, keep your hips elevated in the air.

    7. Bhujangasana

    This is called the Cobra pose. Slide forward and raise your chest, support with your hands on the floor. Raise your chest as much as possible and look upwards. Keep your legs and mid-section flat on the ground. Make sure you use your hands to support your body and do not transfer your entire weight onto them.

    8. Adho Mukha Swanasana

    Raise your hips as you exhale and your head down so as to rest in an inverted ‘V’ position.

    9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana

    Next breathe in, and stretch your body parallel to the ground. Keep your hands to the side, and bring your left knee towards the left part of the chest and let your right leg stretch behind and look up. Note: This time, we do the opposite of what we did in the 4th step. Procedure- Bring your right foot forward, while resting the left foot behind, at its original position.

    10. Hasta Padasana

    Next slowly bring your right foot forward, next to the left foot as you exhale. Rest your palms on the floor, your nose touching the knees.

    11. Hastauttanasana

    Next inhale, raise your hands upward, and bends backward with hips pushing forward.

    12. Pranamasana

    This is the last pose, exhale and stand in a relaxed manner in the Namaskara mudra. Feel the positive vibrations in your body. This is how you complete one repetition of Surya Namaskar. Twelve repetitions of this holistic exercise are said to yield maximum benefit.

    Above sequence is shown in diagram below

    Surya Namaskar sequence

    Practicing self-massage after yoga asana

    Muscle soreness after yoga asana occurs when you have over stressed yourself too much the day before. The remedy for this problem is self-massage. Self-massage after asana helps both minimize muscle soreness and also improves the positive impact asana in your body.

    Self-massage and yoga is the perfect health practice to be followed by yogis. Not only will self-massage help good blood flow and prevent muscle soreness, but self-massage also improves the lymphatic flow, that is beneficial for deeper meditation practices.

    Yoga Instructor, Shiatsu Practitioner And Author, Kristine Kaoverii Weber in her blog 'Self-Massage After Yoga  Why You Should Take The Time To Do It' has explained very clearly the need for self massage after yoga. 

    As per the ancient scripts of Hatha yoga, every yogi sweats after the strenuous yoga asana. The sweat consist essential elements/oils of the body which should be rubbed by the yogi himself in order to absorb them through the pores of the skin. Otherwise, these essential elements will get destroyed if it is allowed to dry in the air or by towel.

    There are many videos and articles explaining the methodology of self massage in the internet, but the process outlined in the below video is the creation of the Indian Yoga Master P.R. Sarkar (founder of Ananda Marga) meant exclusively for doing after asanas.

    You can watch the the process of self-massage in the following video.

    Final words about yoga

    Just keep practicing!

    Concentrate in your practice with an open mind and heart. Everything else will fall in place gradually. Check out Yoga Journal to get any clarification on yoga poses. Be very regular and start tasting the benefits of starting yoga in life.