Do Yoga at Home

Attending instructor-led yoga classes outside of your home is an excellent way to acquaint yourself with yoga or deepen a existing practice. However, it may be difficult to find the time or money to join a yoga studio, or you might not have a yoga studio near your place of residence. Whether you have financial, time, or location constraints, or you just prefer to practice yoga at home, you can establish and maintain a strong home yoga practice that can support both your mental and physical health.[1]


Establishing an Initial Yoga Practice

  1. Attend a yoga class. Most yoga studios or gyms will let you try one class for free. If you don’t know much about yoga, or if it has been a long time since you have been to a yoga class, try attending one or two classes. This can help you develop a yoga regimen for your home practice.[2]
    • After the class, write down the asanas, or poses, so that you remember what you did. Don’t be afraid to draw pictures if that makes it easier to recall the asanas.
    • Ask the instructor if they have any tips or suggestions for a home practice. Many instructors will be encouraging and will understand if you can’t make it to class frequently.[3]
  2. Use beginner yoga videos. There are a wide variety of video-based yoga courses available. You may consider purchasing yoga DVDs for your home practice, which will offer a basic guided yoga practice for you to follow. You may also search online for yoga videos or courses that guide you through increasingly complex yoga practice.
    • Select a video or course that corresponds with your personal yoga goals.[4]
    • If your goal is to burn fat and lose weight, you might want to find a fast-paced vinyasa or ashtanga video.[5]
    • If your goals are meditation and mindfulness, you may want to find a Hatha yoga video.[6]
    • Restorative and yin yoga are specifically practiced to help stretch out and repair muscles.[7]
    • Feel free to mute the video once you have done it a few times. You might want to glance at it occasionally for guidance, but you can always play your own music and turn your attention inward.
  3. Conduct online research on yoga. There are many great resources online for putting together a home yoga practice. You can research such topics as different asanas and how to sequence them into a solid practice.[2]
    • Make sure to consult sites that are supported by certified yoga instructors. Many forms of yoga such as Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Hatha, and Iyengar have their own organizational websites that can help you develop your home practice.

Planning Your Home Yoga Practice

  1. Be aware of the challenges of home practice. It sounds easy enough to simply practice yoga at home, but be aware that it can be quite difficult, especially if you are not a experienced yogi.[1] Understanding the fundamentals of yoga from asana alignment to proper sequencing of asanas can help you set a successful and injury-free home practice.[1]
    • When yoga is done properly, it appears effortless and should feel relatively effortless. You want to challenge your body and mind to constantly improve, even if it is only something as minimal as getting deeper into a position or mastering an asana.[1]
    • If you’re just starting out, it’s advisable to practice using DVDs or online resources until you feel comfortable putting together a solid and independent home practice.[1]
    • Understand that it takes a good yoga teacher many years of practice and instructing to put together classes that incorporate all of the elements of a yoga practice.
  2. Set goals for your overall yoga practice. Before initiating any yoga practice, it’s advisable to figure out why you want to practice. Yoga can be a method of physical exercise, a way to reduce and manage stress, a means of healing an illness or injury, or a path to spiritual fulfillment and peace.
    • Think about which components of wellness you want to work on, such as strength, flexibility, stamina, anxiety, and depression. You might also want to practice for your general well-being.
    • Consider writing down your goals for your practice. Update your goals as you meet them and add new goals to keep yourself challenged.[8] For example, you could have a goal such as “get my heels to the ground in downward dog” or “I want to master supported headstand.”
  3. Gather the equipment you will need to practice. At a minimum, you will need a yoga mat. Consider having props such as a yoga belt, yoga block, and a large blanket or bolster at hand, too.[9] These pieces of equipment can help improve and deepen your yoga practice as well as making it more comfortable.[10]
    • You can buy mats and props at sporting goods stores, yoga studios, or at online yoga retailers.
    • You don’t necessarily need special yoga clothing, but try wearing something comfortable that isn’t too tight. Women can wear leggings, a tank top, and sports bra. Men can wear a pair of athletic shorts and a t-shirt.
  4. Decide how often you want to practice. Scheduling regular yoga sessions can help you maintain your practice and keep other people used to giving you time and space. Gradually work up to practicing yoga every day.
    • Start your home practice with one to three sessions per week and then build up towards doing yoga every day. Set goals for yourself that are attainable.
  5. Make time for yourself. Make sure all that electronics are turned off or unplugged, no one is coming over, and everyone in your household is either not home or otherwise occupied. Be clear to everyone that your yoga practice that is for you and you should not be disturbed except in an emergency.[1]
    • Many yoga classes are 60-95 minutes, but you may not be able to make that much time. Even if you only have 10 minutes per day, you can still reap the benefits of yoga.[11]
    • If you have children, try to find someone to watch them while you do your yoga practice. You could also do yoga during their naps or even consider inviting the kids do yoga with you!
    • Even if you only have 10 minutes per day, you can still reap the benefits of yoga.[11]
  6. Find a comfortable place to practice. You’ll want to have a comfortable and quiet space in which to practice yoga. Make sure you’ve got plenty of room to move and a way to close yourself off to the outside world, such as a door to a room.[3]
    • You’ll need a few inches on each side of your mat so that you don’t run into a wall or anything else.
    • Make sure the place you practice is quiet and calm so that no one can disturb your focus. You’ll also want someplace that is comfortable: a humid and chilly basement may not be the best option, for example.

Executing an Asana Practice

  1. Sequence a well-balanced practice. “Sequencing,” or putting together asanas that make up a yoga practice, is one of the most difficult parts of practicing yoga, especially if you are doing it at home. Regardless of how you learn to approach yoga, there is a basic sequence that most yoga classes follow.[3]
    • Start your practice with a short meditation and chanting exercise to calm your mind and center your thoughts.[1]
    • Set an intention for your practice just before you begin to practice.[3]
    • After meditating and setting your intention for your practice, warm up with floor poses.[12]
    • Move from a warm up of sun salutations to standing poses, then progress through inversions, backbends, forward bends, and end with savasana, or corpse pose.[3]
    • Always end your practice with a final relaxation pose.
  2. Chant a mantra. Chanting mantra is a good way to get into the right mindset to practice yoga. Even a small amount of mantra chanting can have significant benefits on the mind and body.
    • Consider starting your chant with an aum, which is the most elemental sound.
    • As you chant, you should feel mantra’s vibrations in your lower belly. If you can’t feel this sensation, try sitting up straighter.
    • You can choose other mantras as well. Maha mantra, which is also called either the great mantra or Hare Krishna, can help you achieve salvation and peace of mind. Repeat the entire mantra as many times as you like. It’s words are: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
  3. Continue chanting or switch to silent meditation. Chanting itself can be a form of meditation, or you can choose to transition from meditation to a silent meditation. Either way you choose, you will reap the benefits of a mantra meditation practice.
    • Just allow your body to flow with what it wants. There are times when you may want to continue chanting or other times when you will want to meditate silently. The point is to not force your body.
    • Let your thoughts come and whenever they arise. This will teach you to focus and let go of anything you can’t control.
    • Any time you need to refocus your mind, you can repeat “let” with every inhalation and “go” with every exhalation.
    • Meditation takes consistent practice and is an important part of yoga. You will have good days and bad days and accepting this is part of the journey.
  4. Place your hands in prayer position and set an intention. No yoga practice is complete without setting an intention. By taking a few seconds to dedicate your practice to something, you may be more effective at doing sun salutations.
    • Lightly touch the bases of your palms, then the palms themselves, and finally your fingers to make prayer hands. You can leave a small space between your palms if you like to let energy flow.
    • If you don’t know what your intention is, consider something as simple as “letting go.”
  5. Warm up your body with sun salutations. Yoga is an active practice, so it is important to warm up your body properly. Doing a few rounds of sun salutations, or Surya Namaskar, can effectively prepare your muscles and mind to practice.[13]
    • There are three different variations of sun salutations. Consider doing 2-3 rounds of Surya Namaskar A, B, and C to warm up. These different sun salutations will engage and condition your muscles for a safe and more pliable bakasana.[13]
  6. Incorporate different asanas. You do not have to be able to do every yoga asana in existence to have an effective home practice. Incorporating and mastering a few simple poses from each of the four types of asana can help you put together a solid home practice.[1]
    • Make sure to start with easier asanas and move on to more difficult poses as you master basic ones.[1]
    • Do asanas from each type of pose in the following order: standing poses, inversions, backbends, and forward bends.[1]
    • Add a twisting asana to neutralize and stretch your spine between backbends and forward bends if you like.[1]
    • Hold each asana for 3-5 breaths.[1]
    • Always balance out asanas that favor one side by doing them on the opposite side.[1]
  7. Perform standing asanas. After you’ve warmed up with sun salutations, do one or two standing asanas, or postures, to start. From mountain pose to the warrior series, these asanas build strength, stamina and flexibility in your entire body.[1]
    • Always begin any yoga practice in tadasana, or mountain pose.[14]
    • Add other foundational standing poses such as vrksasna (tree pose) or the Warrior Series, which is known as Virabhadrasana I, II, and III.[15]
    • As you progress, you can incorporate other standing poses such as Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) and Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose).[1]
  8. Practice inversions. Inversions may sound daunting, but they are an integral part of any yoga practice.[1] From handstand to headstand, these asanas can calm your circulation and stimulate your nervous system while building strength.[1]
    • If you are a beginner, it’s important to get the help of a professional before you try these asanas. This can help ensure that you enter the postures properly and don’t injure yourself.[1]
    • You can practice handstands, which is known as mukha vrksasana, on a wall until you have enough strength to hold yourself up.[1]
    • Gradually add forearm balance and salamba sirsasana (headstand) as your practice improves.[1]
    • Never jump into any inversion. Too much momentum can lead to injury.[1]
  9. Try a backbend or two. Together with inversions, backbends are the most intense portion of any asana practice. From cobra pose to full wheel, backbends will strengthen the back and stretch the abs while counterbalancing the effects of sitting in a chair.[1]
    • Begin with simple backbends such as salabhasana (locust pose), bhujangasana (cobra pose), or setu bandha sarvangasana (bridge pose).[1]
    • Work up to dhanurasana (bow pose) and urdhva dhanurasana (full wheel or upward bow).[16]
  10. Add a twist. If you find you your back needs a little help after backbends, add a twist. These asanas will relieve tension and help to balance out your practice in anticipation of forward bends.[1]
    • Twists can get quite deep, so start off with simple variations such as Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s twist) before moving on to more difficult asanas such as ardha matsyendrasana (half lord of the fishes pose).[17]
  11. Enjoy forward bends. Forward bends are always practiced toward the end of a yoga sequence because they calm the mind and the nerves. From head of the knee pose to star pose, forward bends will stretch your back muscles and prepare you for closing postures and final relaxation.[17]
    • Most people should be able to enjoy the benefits of different forward bends. Try paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), janu sirsasana (heat of the knee pose), or tarasana (star pose) and hold them each for 8-10 balanced breaths.[1]
  12. Finish your practice with closing postures. Closing postures will end your active asana practice. From supported shoulder stand to corpse pose, these poses will quiet your mind and relax your body.[1]
    • A good sequence to follow for closing postures is holding salamba sarvangasana (supported shoulderstand) and then immediately entering matsyasana (fish pose).[1]
    • If you cannot do salamba sarvangasana, try viparita karani (legs up the wall pose).[18]
    • If you haven’t done headstand already and are able, consider adding this as your final active posture. It complements supported shoulder stand.[19]
  13. End in corpse pose. You’ve successfully finished your active asana practice and now it’s time to relax. End your practice in savasana (corpse pose) and enjoy the benefits of your yoga session.[19]
    • Make sure you don’t fall asleep in corpse pose. It’s easy, but with practice you’ll be able to achieve a meditative state in savasana.
    • If you like, cover yourself up with a blanket or put a bolster under your legs to keep yourself comfortable.

Deepening and Intensifying Your Yoga

  1. Increase the duration of your practice. After you feel comfortable with your established yoga practice, try lengthening your practice by holding each pose a bit longer and flowing seamlessly between asanas. Add new and more challenging poses as you are able.[20]
    • Many yoga classes are 60-90 minutes, so you could aim to make your practice around that length.
  2. Strengthen the intensity of your practice. You may want to strengthen the intensity of your practice as you become comfortable with your routine. This can be done easily by holding each pose a little longer and by challenging yourself to sink deeper into challenging poses.
    • Poses that involve lunges or squats can be taken a bit lower.
    • You can increase the speed of transitions between asanas to create more intensity.
  3. Increase the frequency of your practice. One of the best ways to deepen your yoga practice is to increase the number of days you practice. You can safely build up to 5-7 days per week.[12] If you make yoga a part of your daily routine, its positive effects can benefit your physical and mental health.[21]
  4. Integrate new goals. If you started doing yoga with a single goal—to become healthy or to find a mindful way to de-stress—try integrating another purpose into your practice. If you have been focusing on either the body or the mind, try to start focusing on the body and the mind together.
    • You may want to add chanting or meditation to your practice to help you focus more deeply on your practice.
  5. Attend an intermediate or advanced yoga class. Checking in with an instructor in a class once you’re ready to move from beginner to intermediate home practice can be the best way to be sure that you are practicing yoga correctly. Ensuring that you are doing each pose correctly can help prevent any strain or stress in your body.
  6. Be patient and stick with it. Yoga has countless benefits and with a regular practice you can reap them. Keep in mind that yoga is not about whether or not you can do a particular pose exactly like the person on a video or in a picture. It's about the journey towards the pose, enlightenment, or whatever your goal is. Keep an open mind and heart at all times.[21]



  • Look for online yoga courses that you can follow from home. These can be free or inexpensive and can encourage your growth as a yogi.
  • If you have a friend who enjoys yoga or practices it regularly, don't be afraid to ask them for tips and tricks. They will be happy to help you!
  • Build postures slowly. Master the most basic variation and build up from there.
  • Yoga is about feeling the mind and body not about nailing poses exactly as they are on a magazine. Don't panic when if feel that you're not doing well enough, keep trying and you will get there.


  • For inversion postures (any time your head is below your heart) you should consult with a yoga teacher and get instruction before doing it at home. Inversion postures are advanced postures and there is high risk of injury.[22]

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