Yoga at Home
By Shabna Cader
For many people with crazy busy schedules, practising yoga, or engaging in any other kind of workout or form of exercise regularly can be quite the challenge. For some of you, there may be no time to actually head out and attend a class on a regular basis, or perhaps the timings just don’t work for you.
For some others, it’s a question of where and how to start. Even if a hectic schedule doesn’t allow you much time to attend a class or get a full 30 minutes of movement, there are still plenty of ways you can reap the benefits of yoga, right in the comfort of your own home.
Ideally, you’ll need to have some adequate space to practise yoga. Whether you’ve only got a narrow strip on the side of your bed or an open space living room for this, either would work. The idea is to create a routine regardless of the size of the space you’ve got. If you’re up for it, consider even rearranging your furniture so that you will end up with ample space to strike a couple of poses without accidentally knocking into a side table, vase or lamp.
I know the number one reason some of the people I know wouldn’t even think of beginning to practise yoga is that they don’t own a mat, and aren’t willing to invest in a good one either. Here’s the thing, you don’t need a mat if you don’t have one or aren’t willing to spend on one. A blanket or a towel or even a carpet with a cloth laid on top would do. Again, the idea is to make do with what you have. Sure, it would and could get a bit slippery to strike some poses, but you will adjust to this and adjust your practice to suit your surroundings.
I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of important to set the mood. A clean, calm, and serene atmosphere will do wonders for both the mind and body. If you’ve already got plenty of clutter and too many objects around you, it’s about time you cleared some of it. Get rid of what does not serve you any purpose. Clutter and disorganisation can cause irritation and distract you plenty, so avoid it at all costs. If you’re a tidy person like me, the fewer objects the better, or you could decorate your space with things that help put you in a calm and relaxed state of mind. I also find that lighting incense, scented candles, or a diffuser with essential oils can do this for me. If you like soothing auditory elements and they help you relax, add that to create your mood.
One of the major differences between practising yoga at home, and at a class or school is that there is no teacher. This can be quite the challenge but do not let it put you off the idea of a beginning. Sure, it’s easy to have a guide or instructor who will show you exactly what you need to do, but there are plenty of online platforms that can fill the void here. This also means that if you aren’t going to follow even an online guide, you will need to make sure you have a good idea of what poses or sequences you want to do.
Coming up with your yoga routine can seem like quite the task especially if you are a novice, but do begin with a conscious mind and purpose. Why did you want to start practising yoga? Is it because you are constantly stressed out? Or is it because you have some tension and pain in certain parts of your body that you wish to cure yourself? Or, is it simply because you want to engage your mind and body in some way and keep fit?
Begin slowly. My recommendation would be to simply get used to the idea and sensation of sitting on your bum at first. If you can sit comfortably, there are plenty of yogic sequences you could perform in just that pose alone.
Keep in mind, when you begin a series of movements to inhale deeply and also extend your exhalations. Neck reflexes, some arm movements, and side body twists are great ways to engage the body and also synchronise breath with the flow. You could then gradually move onto laying flat on your back and perform a couple of sequences there as well. Again, some side body twists, hip, and hamstring stretches, even a little core engagement.
Flip your body onto the side and there are a couple of movements you could work through here as well, before finally coming back up to a seated position or moving onto being on all fours. Move with caution and like you mean it. Some injuries tend to happen while in the transition from one pose to the other, so you’ll want to proceed with care and plenty of awareness.
Finally, if you feel ready for it, jump onto the feet for some weight balancing poses and salutations. Leaping straight into advance poses that put undue strain on your body, so don’t rush into anything. Progress can be slow, very slow but that’s alright. The more you take time to practise, the better in tune you’ll be with your mind and body and understand when to take larger progressive steps in your yogic journey.
Practising yoga at home can be a great way to kick start your day, give yourself a midday break or even wind down and relax after a tiring day. Find what feels best for you, and enjoy it.