Most people do not believe me when I tell them that I learned yoga from scratch at home through apps and YouTube videos before paying for group yoga classes. Many of them further commented that they do not dare to try doing yoga at home without the comfort of a physical class.
I probably repeated my response many times; learning yoga at home can be done safely if you focus on developing a STRONG FOUNDATION for basic poses before progressing into more advanced poses. The key to success is to PRACTISE INTENTIONALLY rather than briefly skimming through many different poses.
A yoga home practice does not only complement regular yoga classes, but it also brings about a myriad of benefits for your personal yoga growth and allows you to become location agnostic and can practice anywhere and everywhere.
However, several common myths tend to prevent people from cultivating a yoga home practice. We look at the top 5 and why these are not true and you should not let such myths stop you.
Top 5 myths of yoga home practice and why they are not true
1. You need to go to a physically taught yoga class in order to know how to do yoga poses accurately
When doing yoga, most beginners fear they will do poses wrongly and only dare to practice yoga when in a physical class taught by a yoga teacher. It is very common to feel unsure about what poses to do and how to sequence them.
Nonetheless, being able to do certain yoga poses depends not only on a teachers’ guidance but more heavily on your level of body awareness.
Practicing intentionally is key.
To build up your knowledge on how to do yoga poses or sequence them, there are multiple free online resources and videos that you can consult at your own time and practice at your own pace.
Leveraging such online resources enables you to FOCUS on specific yoga poses or skills that you may not have time to practice deeply during a taught yoga class. Tutorials also enable you to build a strong foundation as you spend time practicing each of them intentionally.
As a bonus, for those who do not know or are just starting to create your own sequence, online resources can be a source of inspiration for your practice.
2. You need to buy many types of yoga equipment to get started
You can start your yoga home practice simply with a yoga mat, and that is enough. Invest in a good quality mat though, because it will go a long way to help your practice.
My first yoga mat cost me SGD 12 which I purchased from a local pharmacy. After the first 2 years, I upgraded to Gaiam Sol Dry-grip yoga mat due to its non-slip surface. Now I change up my Gaiam for Manduka Prolite Yoga mat at home or the Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat when I am traveling (it folds nicely into my suitcase)!
In the early days, don’t feel obliged to buy all kinds of yoga equipment. Understand whether you really need them after you have settled into a regular home practice. In the meantime, you can replace several types of equipment with things found at home. For example, if you need a yoga strap, you can use a towel in place of it. Use pillows bolster, and blankets found at home.
3. You need to practice yoga for long periods of time
This is one of the most common misconceptions as most people believe yoga is beneficial only if they practice for an hour or more. However, I always tell my friends that be it 5 or 15 minutes, once you get to the mat and start moving your body you already are reaping mental and physical benefits.
Even for me, I do not have the luxury of 1 hour daily due to a busy schedule. Sometimes my home practice can be as short as 15 minutes before work. ADJUST YOUR PLANS TO YOUR SCHEDULE– any amount of time can be used to squeeze in time on the mat.
4. You need a lot of space to do yoga
To help with building a consistent practice, the best-case scenario is to dedicate a permanent space that you can set aside for your yoga practice. However, this is NOT feasible for most of us who live in small spaces or travel a lot and stay in small hotel rooms. Finding a space to roll out our mats may become the first and biggest obstacle to our home practice.
When your living area is small, you may need to think outside the box to find or create the necessary space. This may entail moving some furniture out of the way, or making the most of corridors or walking spaces.
For instance, in my recent to trip to Hong Kong, the hotel rooms were so tiny the only walking space was between the entrance and the beds – that was literally the size of a yoga mat. Sure, I needed to reorient myself at times to avoid hitting the wall, but this mat-sized was ENOUGH to help me clock in the usual practice without any major obstacle.
5. You need a quiet, uninterrupted practice
While you should ideally practice in a quiet environment, we know that this is not a practical requirement. As mentioned, many of us live in small spaces with other people or our pets and will need to learn to live with distractions.
I live with my parents and my playful Shih Tzu (he’s called Champagne.) Whenever I lay out my yoga mat, Champagne will definitely come over to keep me company. In addition, Mum’s always doing household chores around the living room space where I do my daily practice.
Nonetheless, such distractions should not stop you from practising at all. The best cure is to conscientiously focus even more on the yoga pose at hand, or fix your gaze on a single spot rather than be distracted by movements around you.
A home yoga practice is a HABIT that takes time to develop. In the initial days when you need to invest most time and energy to develop this new habit, but you can help reduce mental barriers and temptation to procrastinate through GOOD PLANNING.
Practice makes progress; As you get used to having a home practice, it will require less effort to maintain.
If you haven’t started a home yoga practice and would like a quick start yoga guide, you can sign up for our free guide below.
The YogaMad is founded by Mila, an avid yogini who is passionate about inspiring others to live their best lives while finding mind-body-soul balance. She has a background in business consulting but has left the corporate world in her quest to live out her dreams as a yoga nomad.