Perhaps you live in a rural area where yoga studios are in short supply. Or, maybe the prospect of venturing into a yoga class packed with other people sounds overwhelming. Either way, you might question the doability of learning yoga at home.
It can’t be that hard, right? So, can you teach yourself yoga at home? Learning yoga at home is entirely doable, but there’s more to it than a simple answer. We’re here to explain, so stick around to learn more.
Can You Teach Yourself Yoga?
Teaching yourself yoga is a doable process. However, if you’re entirely unfamiliar with it, having the help of an experienced yoga instructor, whether in a studio or online, is valuable. They can guide you through the basics, outlining the proper form and breathing techniques to promote a strong and healthy foundation.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to use an in-person class or online video to learn yoga. Many yoga teachers start learning on their own, develop a passion for the practice, and pursue an education in yoga specifics. People have taught themselves yoga for over a hundred years, learning the ins and outs of the practice without the guidance of a skilled instructor.
Many individuals have even taught themselves yoga using nothing more than a book. There are dozens of yoga books out there, each with something to offer. Some books detail the origins of yoga, while others focus on various poses and their purposes. Other books outline entire flows and sequences, complete with detailed instructions on how to do each pose.
So, given the abundant resources, there’s no reason you can’t teach yourself yoga.
How To Learn Yoga On Your Own
If you’re ready to teach yourself yoga without driving to a packed yoga studio, there are a few steps you need to follow. While you could begin the process entirely without assistance, you’ll likely have better results with some research and guidance (this doesn’t always mean a yoga class). This will help skirt the possible risk of injury and give you the best chance at achieving your goals.
Ready to learn how to teach yourself yoga? Here are a few crucial steps to ensure the best results:
Find Your Style
First things first, you’ll need to select a style. While you may find yourself drawn to multiple types of yoga, it’s best to start with one and build from there. Take your time researching your options and carefully review your body and needs. This will help you select the best fit based on your fitness level.
For example, if you feel exhausted, focusing on rest and restoration is better than a heart-pumping, sweat-inducing sequence. You might find the ideal fit in a restorative yoga sequence, as these styles focus on slower-paced recovery.
On the other hand, maybe you’re feeling energetic and ready for a challenge. In this scenario, you might appreciate the faster pace of a Vinyasa sequence, as it offers more challenging poses and a quicker pace. You could also consider a hot yoga class, but this type of yoga usually requires a studio, as the heat and humidity are a cornerstone of the practice.
As you search for the perfect fit, consider your needs and expectations. Do you want to start your day with a yoga routine, or are you hoping to use yoga to wind down for bed? Do you need a routine that focuses on the exercise aspect, or are you interested in learning about the spiritual realm of yoga?
Once you outline your needs and expectations, use them in your research to isolate the best fit for you.
Choose A Resource
After you select a suitable yoga style, your next step is to choose a resource. While you can use your imagination and move through flows that you think would be in that type of yoga, doing so opens the door to injury (hello, improper form!).
So, it’s usually best to choose a resource for the best results. This doesn’t mean you have to participate in an in-person yoga class, although you might find that helpful. It could translate to a detailed book outlining poses and sequences that align with your style choice.
Or, it might point to a blog that details specific poses and sequences you want to try. Alternatively, you could browse through yoga videos on YouTube specific to the style you want to try. This option is ideal for those who learn better with visual and auditory guidance.
You likely won’t have to pay anything if you go the blog or video route. Some blogs charge a set membership fee to access certain parts of the website, but you can find free information with research.
If you choose to use a book, you’ll need to buy it online or in-store. Or, you can check out a book from your nearest library if you can find one that fits your needs, which will be free. Of course, you’ll need to return the book on the return date, but you can always check it out again.
The prospect of self-teaching might not appeal to some, especially in the initial stages. So, if that sounds like you, you might consider signing up for a local class. In some areas, you can hire a one-on-one private instructor for more personalized service. These options usually cost money, so expect to pay for the services, whether you go to a yoga studio or hire a private instructor.
Purchase Your Equipment
Once you select a reference, it’s time to purchase your equipment. Technically, you don’t need any equipment. You could try yoga first and see if you like it before committing to buying yoga equipment.
If you choose to practice equipment-free, choose a suitable surface to work on. The thick rubber floors at the gym make the perfect, padded surface. At home, you could use a thick blanket (make sure it doesn’t slip) or a carpeted area. With the at-home options, you’ll need to be careful not to slip and fall, especially in balancing poses.
While you can practice equipment-free, it’s best to purchase a mat. Yoga mats aren’t always expensive, especially if you choose a budget-friendly option. You can find suitable mats at your local TJMAXX or through Amazon, where they usually cost around $10 to $20. If you’re looking for a higher-quality mat, you can expect to pay more, but you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a good yoga mat.
Aside from a yoga mat, you might need a block or bolster, which is helpful during the flexibility-building stages. However, you don’t technically need either, as you can use a rolled-up blanket, a small step stool, or a similar household object for the same purpose.
Choose A Practice Location
Next, you need to choose the perfect regular yoga practice location. If you live in a cramped space, work with what you have. You could roll out a mat in your bedroom, living room, or kitchen – wherever you have enough space to practice.
If you have extra space to work with, dedicate a small space or room in your home to your yoga/exercise practice. This could be an empty corner in your bedroom or the spare bedroom you don’t use. Use the area to store your yoga mat and as a dedicated space for practice.
Ideally, you should choose a quiet area where you can focus on your workout and nothing else. Simply roll out your mat, grab a bottle of water and a towel, and get started. You can add to the soothing ambiance with candles or aromatherapy, but that is entirely up to you.
Everything is ready to go, so it’s time to start practicing! Set up your video, book, or resource, and begin working through your yoga session. As you challenge your body through various holds and stretches, remember to listen to your body.
Sometimes, we want to keep going, even though our body is trying to communicate otherwise. It might be a sharp pain due to overstretching, or it could be an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. Whatever it is, be sure to pay attention. Slow down if you need to, and stop entirely if necessary.
Avoid pushing too hard too soon, as this could lead to an injury that will set you back even further. Take your time, and don’t forget to take breaks! If you need a rest day, don’t be afraid to take it.
As you build your strength and endurance, you’ll likely find certain moves and sequences are more manageable than before. But as you work to this point, be careful and work within your limits.
While breathwork is commonly associated with meditation, it’s also an essential piece of the yoga puzzle. So, as you work through your sessions, remember to focus on your breathing. If you’re following an instructor, online or in-person, they’ll likely instruct you to incorporate breathing techniques throughout the session.
However, if you’re following instructions in a book, pay attention to the recommended breathing techniques (if applicable). As you practice, remember to breathe evenly and constantly. Sometimes, we hold our breaths when we’re participating in a particularly challenging move or sequence. Since this is the perfect recipe to pass out, remember to breathe through the movement!
Consistency is a crucial part of success. Without consistent practice, you won’t see the results you’re expecting. So, be sure to remain consistent in your practice. Ideally, you should practice two to three times per week for 30 to 60 minutes a session to see the fruits of your labor.
When you start, practicing this often or for this long might be challenging – that’s okay! Start slow and increase your session length and practice frequency until you build up to practicing 2-3 times per week. Once you achieve this, you might even decide to start practicing 4-5 times per week or 5-6 times per week.
As you hone your practice and build your strength, don’t forget to take time to rest and recover!