A friend openly asked on social network tools and advices to start practicing yoga at home. The thought of her typing “yoga videos” honestly scared me. My aim was to prevent her from losing time and eventually the will to get going with this great habit.
As I’ve stated many times, I have my own morning routine including my Physical Poetry technique body preparation but sometimes I just need to be told what to do, and a guided yoga practice is the perfect tool to get going for me too.
Here is a humble guide for you to avoid losing hours, days, months and the will to practice by yourself while surfing the pool of offers.
My favorite platform for yoga practice is Gaia. Think of it as the Netflix of Yoga.
It offers a very wide variety of practices and their search engine is divided in the following categories:
- Style: Beginners, Hatha, Ashtanga, Fusion...
- Teacher: I include my favorite teachers later in this post
- Level: from Beginner-1 to Advance-3
- Duration: 15 to 90 minutes
- Focus: Backbends, Hip openers, Lower back, Balance, Digestion, Core....
There are so many other sites but nothing I found comes near to competing with the quality of Gaia at the moment.
*A small disclaimer: I pay for my membership, I am not affiliated to them in any way.
Here are are a few of my personal favorite teachers or some I would advise :
- Kreg Weiss is also a kinesiologist and has the most functional classes I know.
- Nico Luce does it his way which makes very repetitive yoga classes more interesting to me.
- Kevan Gale or Clara Roberts-Oss for the hypermobile ones.
- Rodney Yee for those who want to go with the mainstream legend and get familiar with the basics.
You can start by picking beginner classes which are very well instructed and safe. There are also series to pick from if you don't feel like exploring.
It’s around 7.95$ to 9.95$ per month and you’ve got a 0.99$ first month to test it. I think they also offer 15 days free once in a while. I personally use their app on my iPad which is big enough for me to see but I can move it around me if needed and do not feel like I am going to the office with a computer.
Alternatively I like the podcast 20 Minutes Yoga sessions for a screen-free experience. They also offer video classes if you prefer. You can download the PDF of the poses to go with the audio you choose and have a look at them before your session or refer to the pdf as needed. Eventually you will get used to the sequence and won't need this visual anymore.
I prefer their older classes without video 2007-2008-2009 still available on their iTunes channel. It’s quite easy to follow but you need to be familiar with the basics of yoga vocabulary.
Here is one I like: Hip opening flow 1
A few tricks to make your home practice successful:
- Consistency: Make it a habit in your daily routine, keep it short at first
- Prepare your gear in advance: mat, water, clothes
- Choose your guided class the day before so you are ready to start when it’s time.
- Practice in front of a mirror for the right form. It’s much more motivating to not only feel but see your improvements.
I also advise to attend a group yoga class once in a while so a teacher can correct possible errors you may have develop on your own. If you prefer, you can have a private session at home.
Apart from helping you to develop discipline in your days, it's a big time saver. Between packing your stuff, commuting, checking-in the studio, time in the locker room to change, be there early to pick your spot at the mirror, shower, dress, commuting again, you may have to block 3 hours of your day for a 60 minutes practice.
A group class provides you with the right motivation to go through the whole class once you are there and started, and perhaps encourage you to push yourself a bit more due to peers pressure.
A home practice does not have this peer pressure factor however, it’s easier to just get started on a dime instead of thinking it over and having to schedule it. You could simply make it a habit to start a day with 20 minutes practice every single morning.
A lot of people are not comfortable wearing revealing clothes and having to bend ridiculously in front of others. Personally I tend to listen more to my body if I am not surrounded by people. It’s also possible to test new kinds of practice, new movements without ever thinking about the way you look. Although yoga should be a practice of non-judgment, I can assure you it isn’t free of it. I am well aware of people looking at me instead of themselves in the mirror. It doesn’t bother me but I can understand it does if you are not comfortable at the first place. Home practice offers you a careless option... and you do not have to wear Lululemon…
If you are looking for the meditative part of yoga and more into the mindfulness practice than the physical part of yoga, you can find a few tools here: Meditation: Happier, Wiser, Younger and Thinner?