A daily yoga practice can easily be added to your day. There are a bunch of benefits from doing just a small amount of yoga, and you don’t have to leave your home!
In the middle of a global pandemic, it may be difficult to exercise in public spaces surrounded by others. Gyms might be closed, or even just unsanitary. It’s completely okay to not want to exercise with other people in times like this.
Fortunately, you can begin a home yoga practice! Yoga has tons of benefits, including some unexpected ones. Keep reading below to learn about the benefits you can get from at-home yoga practice!
Don’t forget, if you ever come across a yoga term and you don’t know it, use this yoga dictionary. A lot of yoga poses are in Sanskrit, which is a bit confusing. Sometimes, I have no clue what they mean, especially since a lot of the words sound similar.
One of the most obvious benefits from yoga is increased flexibility. Many people think you should already be flexible to do yoga, but this is not the case! Yoga will build your flexibility over time.
When I first started doing yoga, I could barely touch my toes. Growing up, I had a lot of back problems, including spondylolisthesis. Basically, my back was very curved. A surgery helped fix this, but I was left with barely any flexibility. Up until I started doing yoga, I couldn’t touch my toes! After continuous practice, I went from not touching toes, to fingertips touching my toes, to planting my entire palm on the ground.
Simple yoga poses can help stretch your muscles to become more flexible. There are a countless amount of yoga videos on YouTube that can help with flexibility. If you work a little every day, you will feel yourself becoming more flexible.
There are different levels of yoga, ranging from calm meditation to intense, sweaty flows. Yoga may seem not as hard as lifting weights or a hard cardio workout, but it definitely can be! It takes a lot of muscles to support your body with just your arms, like in the picture above.
Over time, your muscles will become stronger. Embarrassingly, I could barely hold a straight-armed plank pose when I first began yoga. My arms felt like noodles and I gave up frequently. Now, I can hold a straight-armed plank! After practicing for a while, I noticed muscles all over my body became stronger, and I could do different poses.
Not all yoga builds strength, though. If you are looking to become stronger, try these different poses. Remember, your toga does not have to be perfect. It’s completely okay to not look like the ‘textbook image’ of a yoga pose. All that really matters is trying your best and doing what feels right for your body. This means you can make any necessary modifications!
In addition to building strength, yoga can help you completely relax. Yoga should be a time that you set aside for yourself with no distractions. Forget about any stress in your life and just live in the moment.
On days where I feel stressed, I do some soothing yoga to clear my head. I also like to do yoga when I have a headache or migraine because taking a second to clear my head really helps. Relaxing yoga that doesn’t harm your body is called Ahimsa yoga. While practicing Ahimsa yoga, you shouldn’t think about any ill thoughts. Overall, just completely relax and take it slow.
If you are interested in relaxing yoga, here are some super comfortable poses to try; remember to use the yoga dictionary! Most of the poses have their own word in Sanskrit, but it’s okay to call them by their simple name. In fact, most yoga websites and videos use simple names.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
- Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
- Head-to-knee Pose (Janusirsasana)
- Cobbler’s Pose (Baddha Koṇāsana)
- Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
- Cat/Cow Pose
The best part about at-home yoga is that you can wear anything you want. If you were to attend a weekly yoga class, you would probably find an outfit and put your hair up. Home yoga has no rules, though. Want to do yoga in a bra and undies? Go ahead! My daily yoga outfit consists of legging or pajama bottoms, and an old shirt. There will be nobody around to judge you.
Home yoga also helps with your self-confidence in reaching different poses. Some poses are just awkward to get into. It’s embarrassing to try a new pose in a room full of strangers, but at home, you can experiment to your heart’s delight. Surprisingly, yoga also helps with gas! At home, you won’t be afraid to let one go.
If we practice yoga long enough, the practice changes to suit our needs. It’s important to acknowledge that the practice isn’t meant to be one practice for everybody. The beautiful thing about yoga is that there are so many different approaches. …If you practice yoga long enough, that will change many times. What exactly that looks like is going to be different for each person.Tiffany Cruikshank
I prefer at-home yoga because I still have trouble with some poses. I like trying and failing with nobody around to watch. With no other people, I can also do any variation I want. If I want to twist into a weird shape to crack my back while laying on the floor, nothing is stopping me.
Healthy Sleep Schedule
Have you ever had a tough workout, making you fall asleep instantly at night? Yoga works the same way! When you practice yoga, your body is moving and blood is flowing. You become less tense and work up some heat without overdoing it. This helps you fall asleep at night.
To get the ultimate yoga session to help with sleep, do some right before bed. There are tons of videos and websites that are all about soothing yoga to help you fall asleep. If you don’t feel like getting out of bed, there is even yoga to do while in bed. The yoga poses I listed above for relaxation are also perfect to do before bed.
Yoga helps my body relax before sleeping. I might wake up one morning with a sore neck which bothers me throughout the day. If I don’t do yoga, I’ll go to bed still feeling it, making it difficult to focus. If I do yoga though, the pain might go away and I’ll sleep better.
Before we talk about chronic pain and yoga, it is important to know that this is not a substitute for going to the doctor. If you are having severe pain and haven’t consulted anyone, you should! Yoga isn’t a cure-all medicine; sometimes you just need to visit a doctor.
Yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions.Harvard Health Publishing
Chronic pain can be unbearable, but yoga can help ease the pain. If you have already consulted a doctor and asked about yoga, there are plenty of resources. Above I mentioned Ahimsa yoga, which is great for a pain-free session. There are also a lot of yoga videos online for seniors. You don’t have to a senior to practice these though. Typically, they are easier on the body.
Any yoga can be modified to fit your body. If you are doing a pose that really hurts, stop doing it, and modify to fit your needs. There are pose guidelines but think of them more as a suggestion. Make a pose unique to you so it feels good to you.
If you google yoga, chances are you will see tons of young, in-shape women who can contort their body into any pose they want. While this may be your goal, you definitely won’t start there. Yoga is not something that you can rush!
Many yoga teachers have been practicing for a long time, so it is silly to compare yourself to them. Above, I talked about not being able to touch my toes, but there were also a bunch of other things I could not do. Most balancing poses were completely out of the question at first. Over time, with practice, I could push myself further.
The physical body is like the earth and it requires the same patience. If we ask it to grow, heal or change faster than it can, either the body will suffer, or we will suffer. And in truth, it is the same suffering.PranaShanti
Don’t feel disappointed in yourself! Most people can’t just instantly be the best at something. There are no loopholes in yoga, so you have to be patient and wait for it. This patience for yoga can be taken off the mat and applied to your life as well. If you are stressed with schoolwork or a job, remember to be patient!
There are tons of resources for you to start your at-home yoga practice. One of my go-to sources is Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. She has a bunch of different videos for pretty much anything you can think of. Adriene knows people of all levels watch her videos, so she helps guide you without using too many complicated words for poses; it’s yoga you can do just by following her voice.
Do you practice yoga? Do you notice other yoga benefits that aren’t listed here? Let us know any resources that you use for at-home yoga in the comments below!