Full disclosure: I started my home yoga practice because it was the cheapest option. I’d been riding the waves of fad fitness and paying for gyms for years but not necessarily finding what felt right for me. Plus science is saying I could increase my flexibility, muscle tone and cardiovascular capacity for the price of a $15 yoga mat and wifi? Sign me up. If you are someone who likes to have a guide maybe this isn’t where you start. There are many fantastic yoga studios and free classes around the city that offer excellent instruction. But I am increasingly of the school of “you are your best teacher”, so here are four suggestions as you develop an at-home-practice.

Create a Distraction-Free Zone

The goal of yoga is to join your mind and body. Successfully creating powerful postures requires focus in the mind and commitment in the body. In fitness environments, our attention often results in unhealthy comparisons. In at-home practices, I find it easier to listen to what my body is telling me. Plus if you fall, nobody is there to see. Sanctify your space with a candle and turn off your phone.

Total Flexibility

When you practice at home, you decide when. No studio schedules and no fighting for parking. Still, I suggest you set a concrete daily time to practice. Morning practices are best for me and I love hopping out of bed and hitting my mat, in whatever I may be wearing. No matter what anyone tells you, the ancients didn’t require expensive Lulumon gear. If you want to cultivate greater body positivity, practice nude.

Virtual Classes Rock

While you are saving up for that 5-day retreat in Bali, the Internet brings you the world’s best yoga teachers and styles to your home. A quick browse through YouTube lead to awesome classes tailored to your ability. Ekhart Yoga has extensive walkthroughs of common poses; Yoga with Adrienne offers a straightforward approach. You’ll find instruction from industry rock stars like Kathryn Budig at Yoga Journal. If you like a little interval fusion with your vinyasa, check out Ali Kamenova. Tim Sensei does excellent 20-30 minute flows, which are a great reminder that the benefits of yoga don’t only come as a result of long sweaty practices. Commitment, even to a short practice, is the key to results.

Start Where You Are

One of the greatest benefits of yoga is how accessible it is. We start every class with an intention, so as you start your home practice, ask yourself “What do I want to get from this?” Bending yourself into a pretzel shape may seem alluring (I haven’t achieved this) but I suggest you go deeper. It may be to find more acceptance of experience, it may be to find greater peace during stressful times or it may be to gain strength. Keep this intention in mind as you start your journey and you’ll be surprised the jewels you’ll uncover from your living room.

Fellow yogis: what has been your best benefit from an at-home-practice? Feel free to share in the comments!

Jahmal Clemons

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