A friend openly asked on social network for tools and advice 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 for me to get going, too.
Here is a humble guide for you to avoid losing hours, days, months and the will to practice by yourself while surfing the vast 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 into the following categories:
- Style: Beginners, Hatha, Ashtanga, Fusion...
- Teacher: I include my favorite teachers later in this post
- Level: from Beginner-1 to Advanced-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 close to competing with the Gaia’s qualityat the moment.
*A small disclaimer: I pay for my membership; I am not affiliated with them in any way.
Here area few of my personal favourite teachers or some I would recommend:
- Kreg Weiss who is also a kinesiologist and has the most functional classes I know.
- Nico Luce does it in his unique 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 beginners’ 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 Minute 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, from the years 2007-2008-2009, which are 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 developed 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 at the studio, spending time in the locker room to change, being there early to pick your spot at the mirror, showering, dressing, then commuting again, you may have to block 3 hours of your day for a 60-minute practice.
A group class provides you with the right motivation to go through the whole class once you are there and started, and perhaps encourages you to push yourself a bit more due to peer 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 the 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 you, if you are not comfortable at the first place. Home practice offers you a carefree option... and you do not have to wear Lululemon…
If you are looking for the meditative part of yoga and are more into the mindfulness practice than the physical part of yoga, you can find a few tools here: Meditation: Happier, Wiser, Younger and Thinner?