Yoga is a fantastic option to add to your at home fitness plan. As a form of mind-body exercise it can offer a nice balance for your cardio and resistance based workouts. Yoga is one method that can be used to help you get into your parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system. This means that it can have benefits for stress relief, exercise recovery and mental wellbeing, as well as the more widely understood benefits such as improved flexibility and stability.
Yoga at home (or the park, beach, or other suitable space) can be a very cost effective option to add to your workout plan. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to know to get started with your first sessions.
If you’re just getting started with yoga, you could try a fitness app, online membership, or one of the many free classes available on YouTube. Before you get started it’s useful to know what style might suit you so that you can make your search more specific. Here are a few of the common types of yoga on offer and a very basic explanation of each:
A great option if you are feeling very stressed or you want to work deep into the muscles. Yin yoga poses are held for a long period of time, often up to five minutes. There is a strong focus on relaxation and getting into the parasympathetic system.
If you want something a lot more energetic that will combine elements of bodyweight strength and endurance with breath-centred movements then try ashtanga yoga or another form of “power” yoga.
Hatha is a traditional, general category of yoga that will likely be somewhere in between yin and power classes when it comes to intensity. It encompasses most styles and you’ll cover a range of postures and breathing exercises.
There is certainly a crossover between styles but it just helps to have an idea of what type of yoga you want to try first. A couple of other styles include vinyasa and Iyengar.
Vinyasa is also known as “flow” yoga where the emphasis is on seamlessly moving between postures. It can be a bit “sweatier” than a traditional hatha class. Iyengar yoga places a strong emphasis on posture, alignment and breath. Iyengar yoga often uses props and bolsters to support the body throughout practice.
Really, the number one thing you’ll need for your home based yoga session is you! Secondly, a yoga mat is very useful because it provides a nice surface to move and lie on. It can also help you to avoid slipping and sliding when doing certain postures.
If you’ve never done yoga before, it might feel harder than you expect the first few times you try it. For some reason there’s often a perception that yoga is “easy”. First up, leave your ego at the door. Yoga can challenge you both physically and mentally from beginners level right through to advanced. There are always ways to take the intensity and progression levels either up or down a notch, so work at a level that’s appropriate for you.
Finally, plan your yoga session(s) into your weekly fitness plan so that you know it’s more likely to get completed. Do you have a hard resistance or cardio session planned? Perhaps your yoga session would fit in well the day after that, as a form of recovery? Or maybe you want to include a few yoga postures and breathing exercises at the end of each home based workout that you complete?
In any case, have fun with it! Are you doing home based yoga, or are you keen to give it a try? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!