Well - currently (that is January 2021) and where I live (in the UK), you don't have any other choice but to start yoga at home. And it is possible to do so. There are yoga classes on YouTube, online yoga studios, and local yoga teachers like myself who teach live online yoga classes several times a week. Attending a live online class with the support of a teacher is maybe the best way to start when you are new to yoga, but you can start with videos alone, too. Just make sure you chose a suitable class.
Which yoga class is best for beginners?
There are soooo many different yoga classes available online that it can be confusing and daunting. Typically, a class labelled as 'all levels' 'suitable for beginners' or 'gentle' is appropriate if you are new to yoga or had a break from practicing yoga for a long time. It might also be worth looking for a beginners course to learn the poses etc. in more detail. If you prefer the personal attention of a yoga teacher, opt for a live online class like the YogaVita classes. Learn more about the different types of yoga in this blog.
How often should a beginner do yoga?
The answer to this question is not easy as it very much depends on your general health, level of fitness, flexibility, and experience with other forms of exercise and sports. The frequency also depends on your goals for practicing yoga. Starting with 1-2 classes per week, with rest days in-between, will give you the opportunity to get to know your body and familiarise yourself with the different aspects of yoga. You could also start with short, 20 minute practices as offered in my 12 Days of Yoga programme.
What should I wear?
Wear something comfortable, which allows you to move freely, like joggers or leggings and a t-shirt. The latest yoga pants and fashion accessories are by no means necessary. Take your socks off as yoga is best practiced with bare feet. This will allow you to feel the connection with the floor and stop you from slipping in some poses like Downward-facing Dog. Have a jumper or blanket at hand to keep warm during the relaxation at the end of class. Be aware that in live online classes other participants can see you - unless you keep the camera switched off - so dress with this in mind and avoid see through or revealing clothes.
What equipment do I need?
Some classes use props, such as belts, blocks, bricks, bolsters, and blankets - sometimes even chairs. You don’t need to purchase any of these to start yoga. Some props can be substituted with everyday items; for example you can use a tie instead of a yoga belt , a book instead of a block, a firm pillow or two instead of a bolster. In my online yoga classes I always offer alternatives for people who do not have props. I recommend to use a yoga mat, though, to avoid slipping and so that you have a dedicated and clean space for your yoga practice.
Where should I practice yoga at home?
Having a dedicated space for your home yoga practice can help getting into the swing of things. Maybe you have the luxury of converting a spare bedroom into your yoga room. If not, a corner in the living room or bedroom, free of clutter, where you can roll out your mat is all you need. Ideally, there is space around your mat so that you can spread out your arms, and enough head room for you to raise your hands when standing up. The floor should be even, clean and clear of clutter to ensure that you can practice safely.
When should I practice yoga?
You can practice yoga at any time during the day (or night), but avoid doing yoga after a heavy meal or when you feel unwell. Allow 1-2 hours after a big meal before doing a yoga class. As with many other activities, is can be useful to block the time for your yoga practice in your diary. From my experience, doing yoga when you have 'an hour to spare' simply does not work.
Consider doing short yoga practices
If time is an issue, you could try short home yoga practices. Short yoga practices still offer many of the benefits of a longer class and can play an imporant role in looking after your physical and mental wellbeing: My 12 Days of Yoga programme is suitable for beginners and includes short, themed yoga videos plus a daily email with information and inspiration. Get your 12 Days of Yoga here.
Download this free guide
Yoga is extremely useful to balance long hours of working at the computer. When working from home, our work space is often less than ideal, leading to tightness and tensions in the body. In addition, we can easily get sucked up into working without breaks, leading to fatigue and exhaustion. Please subscribe to my newsletter to receive a free guide with more information on how to stay well with yoga when working from home. This guide includes 16 yoga poses you can do at your desk.
If you want to start yoga, don't give up just because there are no in-person classes where you live. You can begin yoga online. Enjoy!