If you are fatigued, you may want to do a more restorative yoga sequence. If you’re feeling lazy, more stressed, anxious or not feeling fresh then sets of yoga poses may help you channel that energy. Many people like to do energizing yoga practice in the morning and a calming restorative practice in the evening. As you practice your first poses on your own, being present during your practice means allowing yourself to be aware of whatever physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts are currently arising. Be creative and spontaneous. If you approach your practice with a sense of curiosity, rather than self-judgment or competitiveness, you will find it easier to motivate yourself to practice.
What You Need to Get Started With Yoga at Home
The best reason to start a home yoga practice is that you don’t need much to begin:
- Choose or create a quiet, uncluttered space in your home for your practice, and stock it with the essential basic yoga props – mat, strap, blocks, blanket, bolster, etc. Space doesn’t have to be large, but it should be quiet, clean, open, and sacred.
- Get realistic goals, starting out with small pockets of time (10-15 minutes).
- Begin with basic beginner yoga sequences and expand your practice as your skills improve.
That said, it’s your yoga practice – to build it to best meet your individual needs.
Which Yoga Poses Should You Do?
1. Chant a mantra
Chanting mantra is a good way to get into the right mindset to practice yoga. Even a small amount of mantra chanting can have significant benefits on the mind and body.
- Consider starting your chant with an aum, which is the most elemental sound.
- As you chant, you should feel the mantra’s vibrations in your lower belly. If you can’t feel this sensation, try sitting up straighter.
- You can choose other mantras as well. Maha-mantra, which is also called either the great mantra or Hare Krishna, can help you achieve salvation and peace of mind. Repeat the entire mantra as many times as you like. Its words are Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
2. Continue chanting or switch to silent meditation
Chanting itself can be a form of meditation, or you can choose to transition from meditation to silent meditation. Either way, you choose, you will reap the benefits of a mantra meditation practice.
- Just allow your body to flow with what it wants. There are times when you may want to continue chanting or other times when you will want to meditate silently. The point is to not force your body.
- Let your thoughts come whenever they arise. This will teach you to focus and let go of anything you can’t control.
- Any time you need to refocus your mind, you can repeat “let” with every inhalation and “go” with every exhalation.
- Meditation takes consistent practice and is an important part of yoga. You will have good days and bad days and accepting this is part of the journey.
3. Warm up your body with sun salutations
Yoga is an active practice, so it is important to warm up your body properly. Doing a few rounds of sun salutations, or Surya Namaskar can effectively prepare your muscles and mind to practice.
- There are three different variations of sun salutations. Consider doing 2-3 rounds of Surya Namaskar A, B, and C to warm up. These different sun salutations will engage and condition your muscles for a safe and more pliable Bakasana.
4. Incorporate different asanas
You do not have to be able to do every yoga asana in existence to have an effective home practice. Incorporating and mastering a few simple poses from each of the four types of asana can help you put together a solid home practice.
- Make sure to start with easier asanas and move on to more difficult poses as you master basic ones.
- Do asanas from each type of pose in the following order: standing poses, inversions, backbends, and forward bends.
- Add a twisting asana to neutralize and stretch your spine between backbends.
5. Perform standing asanas
After you’ve warmed up with sun salutations, do one or two standing asanas, or postures, to start. From mountain pose to the warrior series, these asanas build strength, stamina, and flexibility in your entire body.
- Always begin any yoga practice in Tadasana or mountain pose.
- Add other foundational standing poses such as Vrksasna (tree pose) or the Warrior Series, which is known as Virabhadrasana.
- As you progress, you can incorporate other standing poses such as Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) and Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose).
6. Mountain Pose
- Stand tall with feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, arms at sides.
- Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight. Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.
7. Warrior Pose
- Stand with legs 3 to 4 feet apart, turning right foot out 90 degrees and left a foot in slightly.
- Bring your hands to your hips and relax your shoulders, then extend arms out to the sides, palms down.
- Bend right knee 90 degrees, keeping knee over ankle; gaze out over right hand. Stay for 1 minute.
- Switch sides and repeat.
8. Bridge Pose
- Stretches chest and thighs; extends the spine
- Lie on the floor with knees bent and directly over heels.
- Place arms at sides, palms down. Exhale, then press feet into the floor as you lift hips.
- Clasp hands under lower back and press arms down, lifting hips until thighs are parallel to the floor, bringing chest toward chin. Hold for 1 minute.
- Make it easier: Place a stack of pillows underneath your tailbone.
9. Triangle Pose
- Extend arms out to sides, then bend over your right leg.
- Stand with feet about 3 feet apart, toes on your right foot turned out to 90 degrees, left foot to 45 degrees.
- Allow your right hand to touch the floor or rest on your right leg below or above the knee, and extend the fingertips of your left hand toward the ceiling.
- Turn your gaze toward the ceiling, and hold for 5 breaths.
- Stand and repeat on the opposite side.
10. Cobra Pose
- Lie face down on the floor with thumbs directly under shoulders, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the floor.
- Tighten your pelvic floor, and tuck your hips downward as you squeeze your glutes.
- Press shoulders down and away from ears.
- Push through your thumbs and index fingers as you raise your chest toward the wall in front of you.
- Relax and repeat.
- Neck rolls
- Left and right-side bends
- Standing backbend
- Three Sun Salutations
- Child’s pose
- Pigeon on the left leg
- Pigeon on the right leg
- Utilize a Gaiam foam roller to roll out your joints
- End in final resting pose (set your phone alarm for 5 minutes)