Alyssa has a passion for fitness and sharing her favorite tips and tricks with the world. Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast.
Much can be said about yoga. It offers numerous physical and mental benefits, including:
- Improved strength and flexibility
- Improved cardiovascular health and circulation
- Developed or refined muscle tone
- Improved digestion
- Reduced stress
- Increased mindfulness
Yoga is also versatile. It can be a wonderful way to stretch your body, waking you up in the morning or helping you unwind from your day in the evening. Alternatively, yoga can be sweaty and challenging, burning fat and aiding in weight management. Additionally, yoga can help ease pain and promote healing.
Basically, there is truly something for everyone when it comes to yoga!
Yoga Is for Everyone
You don't need fancy clothes, expensive equipment, or a membership to do yoga. You don't need a flexible body either. While going to a yoga class can be a fun experience, nothing can beat the convenience of an at-home yoga practice. Not only is it less intimidating and easier on the budget, but it gives you the opportunity to explore your own creativity and individuality, while allowing you to better connect with yourself.
I've been working out at home for over a decade, and yoga has been a part of my daily routine for the past eight years.
International Yoga Day is June 21. To celebrate, I wanted to share my tips, tricks, favorite products, and ideas to get started with an at-home practice.
Apparel, Equipment, and Accessories
All you need to get started with yoga is yourself, a willingness to learn, and an open mind. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
With that said, there are some basic items you may want to invest in to get the most out of your practice. However, you don't need to spend a lot of money. For most yoga props, you can get creative and use items you already have at home.
If you are going to buy anything, purchase a yoga mat. There are many on the market, but you don't have to spend a ton to get a quality one. I've had several over the years and I recommend one that is about 1/4 inch thick with texture on the mat itself. Too thick of a mat can hurt your wrists and too smooth of a mat can have you sliding all over the place. Depending on how often you use it and how hard you are on it, a yoga mat can last for years.
Some Tips on Yoga Mat Care:
- Try not to wear shoes on your yoga mat. This is especially true if you use your mat for other workouts, like I do.
- Roll your mat up to store it versus folding it in half.
- Wash your mat using hot water, dish soap, and a soft rag. If you want more information about cleaning your mat, check out my article: A Quick and Simple Way to Clean Your Yoga Mat.
If you have carpeted floors, you may not need a yoga mat. When I first started practicing yoga 21 years ago, I did my asanas right on the carpet without a mat. Alternatively, you could use a rug, towel, or blanket as a mat. Be careful doing this, especially if you have hardwood floors.
Other Basic Items to Consider:
- Yoga blocks - These are great tools to have for any level. You can sit on one to help lengthen your spine and sit up straight; You can use them to help create space and make poses more accessible as you work on flexibility. Books work well as yoga blocks.
- Yoga strap - This is an awesome tool to have. The strap can help you go deeper into a pose, help you flip your grip, and make poses more accessible as you work on flexibility. A scarf, tie, or towel can be used as a strap.
- Pillows and blankets - Your bed pillow, couch pillows, and blankets are perfect props. I love having a blanket over my yoga mat first thing in the morning to make my practice extra cozy.
Items to Expand Your Practice
The following are tools and equipment that I truly love and use on a regular basis, but are completely unnecessary for an at-home practice. You do not need to buy these, and I will offer swaps as appropriate. However, as you continue to develop your at-home practice, these are items that I believe are worth investing in.
- Bolster - I use this every day in a variety of ways: I sit on it when my hips and legs are feeling stiff; I lay on it to open and stretch my chest and shoulders. You can use a rolled-up blanket or towel as a bolster.
- Yoga wheel - This is my favorite piece. I use it every day to open my chest and shoulders. The yoga wheel has a variety of uses and there are countless poses that can be enhanced with one.
- Inversion chair - If you are looking to safely grow your inversion practice at home, an inversion chair is well worth the investment. I actually use my chair for more than yoga-related activities; my son uses it as a normal chair and I use it to cut my husband's hair.
What to Wear
Let's talk about yoga apparel. The beauty of an at-home practice is that you can wear whatever you want or nothing at all. You don't need fancy clothes. Anything that's comfortable and easy to move in will do. I typically wear shorts and a tank or pajama pants and a tank. With that said, as someone who works out a lot, there are a few companies that stand out among the rest. For typical yoga apparel, Vayumudra is my favorite. Their leggings are super soft and their yoga bras are incredibly comfortable. When I hurt my shoulders a few years ago, their yoga bra was the only one I could wear without pain. Victoria's Secret makes my favorite sports bra, the Knockout Front-Close. I also love Under Armour shorts and tank tops.
Getting started with your at-home practice is as simple as hopping on your yoga mat and following along with a YouTube video. If you are a beginner or just want to get back to your roots, I highly recommend starting with 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene Mishler. This is a series Adriene does each January. It's completely free and every video is available on her YouTube channel. The great thing is that you don't have to wait for the new year. You can start any time you'd like. Adriene also has a variety of other yoga videos, from Foundations where she explains a pose in-depth to quick practices for those who don't have a lot of time. Adriene's channel is perfect for any level!
Other Yoga YouTube Channels To Consider:
- Boho Beautiful Yoga
- Bad Yogi Yoga
As you become more comfortable with your yoga practice, you might want to move on your own. This is one of my favorite things to do! I love putting on music and just moving my body, allowing myself to enjoy the stretches and poses my body needs most.
At-home yoga is wonderful. If you are looking to expand your practice, curious to learn new poses, are interested in sharing your practice, or want to connect with other people, then I recommend joining an Instagram yoga challenge. This is a fun, free way to level up your practice and meet new friends. For the past five or so years, I've participated in and hosted many challenges and the Instagram yoga community has welcomed me with open arms. I've met some of my closest friends this way. Yoga challenges and my friends on Instagram have encouraged me to branch out and try new poses, and have given me great tips on expanding my own practice.
I hope this guide has inspired you to begin your own at-home yoga journey. Happy moving!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Alyssa