Whether you’ve been attending yoga classes for years and want to start practicing at home or you’ve never stepped foot on a mat before, we’re covering everything you need to know about doing yoga at home.

Benefits of Yoga Practice

The benefits of yoga include improved balance, flexibility, posture, and strength. Beyond physical benefits, yoga also benefits your mental health, as it calms the nervous system in a similar way to meditation. Intentional breathing during a yoga practice decreases stress by strengthening the nerve transmissions to the brain from the body.

Yoga is also a fantastic way to build your mind-body connection at home, since you need minimal equipment and space. 

How do I Start Doing Yoga at Home?

To start doing yoga at home, all you need is a yoga mat and some good intentions. If you're a beginner, you may want to start with an on-demand online yoga class until you learn the ropes. If you're more advanced, you may choose to string together your own poses (listed below) by yourself at home.

It’s also important to set S.M.A.R.T fitness goals for yourself when starting a new workout program at home. Depending on your goals, yoga can either be your primary source of fitness or can complement your current fitness routine. 

Equipment You'll Need to Practice Yoga at Home

At the most basic level, you’ll need a yoga mat. Additional yoga props include yoga blocks, a yoga strap (to achieve a wider range of motion), and a bolster (for extra stability), but these are optional. Many yoga classes simply require a mat to attend; however, there are certain poses that are best executed with the assistance of this additional equipment.

For example, Warrior III is a yoga pose that requires you to balance on one straight leg while the other leg and your upper body are extended straight and parallel to the floor (kind of like an upper case T). Like any yoga pose, Warrior III has easier or more advanced variations. If you can’t perform a Warrior III pose safely, you can use a block under your hands to make the pose safer and easier to execute.

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What Rooms can be Used for Practicing Yoga?

Whether you live in a condo, a house, or an apartment, you’ll be able to find space for your yoga practice. As for rooms, you can do yoga in almost any room of your house—we recommend the living room, a spare bedroom, a nook, or an office. 

Any room that has enough space for your yoga mat and is wide enough to stretch out around it will work great for you to get fit at home through an at-home yoga practice.

When the weather works in your favor, yoga is also one of the easiest workouts to take to your balcony or backyard, as you don’t need to lug heavy equipment outside.

Can a Beginnner Learn Yoga at Home?

A beginner can absolutely learn yoga at home. If you’ve never been to a class, there might be a bit of an adjustment period to familiarize yourself with the poses, the names of the poses, and general yoga terms and lingo. Not to worry though, many instructors will provide instructions and cues along the way so you’re not lost during class.

Pro tip: If you’re brand new to yoga, try a pre-recorded yoga class so you can pause and rewind if needed to help you learn the names of poses and get more comfortable with practicing yoga before advancing to live classes.

MIRROR’s Restorative Yoga classes are available live or on-demand so you can rewind or pause if needed.
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Can you do Yoga at Home Without an Instructor?

You can practice yoga at home by yourself, without an instructor. This approach is more realistic for someone who has been practicing yoga for awhile and is familiar with the different poses and sequences. One challenge of practicing yoga without an instructor is motivation. If you are leading yourself through a yoga practice, you might get distracted, forget certain poses, or go straight to Savasana and call it a day. 

The best approach to doing yoga at home without an instructor is to set reasonable expectations. Doing a few sun salutations in the morning, mid-day, after work, or before bed is a very realistic and doable practice. Taking yourself through an entire half an hour or hour-long practice might be more difficult; however, we encourage you to do so if you feel you’ve grown to that level. 

Yoga Poses you Can Do at Home

The following yoga poses are some of the most fundamental to a yoga practice. These poses can easily be done at home on your mat with no other equipment.

1. Child's pose

What is it and what is it good for?

Child’s pose is a restorative pose that gently stretches the spine, thighs, hips, ankles,  shoulders, and back muscles.

How to perform it properly

  • With both your hands and knees on the mat in a tabletop position, touch your big toes together gently and send your hips back towards your feet.
  • Go as far back as you can and let your sitz bones rest on your heels.
  • Let your arms stretch out straight in front of you and rest your forehead on the mat.
  • Breathe into this position as you feel the stretch.

2. Cat cow

What is it and what is it good for?

Cat cow is a yoga movement that synchronizes your breath with spinal flexion and extension. It encourages gentle movement and stretching through the neck, spine, abdomen, chest, hips, and shoulders. 

How to perform it properly

  • With both your hands and knees on the mat in a tabletop position, breathe out as you round your back and tuck your chin.
  • With your inhale, untuck your chin and look up towards the sky as you arch your back, pushing your shoulders back and down away from your ears, opening up the chest and abdomen.
  • Continue alternating between each pose with every inhale and exhale.

3. Downward-facing dog

What is it and what is it good for?

Downward dog is a restorative pose that is also a fundamental position while performing a sun salutation. (A sun salutation is a flow of yoga poses that includes a downward dog, a plank, chaturanga, and an upward-facing dog or cobra pose). Downward dogs stretch the chest, shoulders, back, ankles, calves, glutes, and hamstrings, and strengthen the wrists, arms, shoulders, and core.

How to perform it properly

  • Start in a tabletop position with your hands and knees touching the mat.
  • Send your hips up towards the sky while straightening your arms and legs to form a triangle position with your body.
  • Push your hands firmly into the floor (especially your thumb and index finger), and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Feel your upper arm bones externally rotate bringing the eyes of your elbows to face forward slightly.  
  • Make your spine as long as possible by sending your tailbone up and back as you draw your belly in, keeping a slight bend in your knees. As you become more comfortable in this position, slowly start to straighten your legs, reaching your heels toward the floor. 
  • Breathe deeply as you hold this position.

4. Warrior I pose

What is it and what is it good for?

Warrior I pose is a standing lunge pose that stretches the hips, hamstrings, calves, and back while strengthening the quadriceps, glutes, core, and shoulders while challenging your balance.

How to perform it properly

  • Start in a downward-facing dog position. Extend your right leg straight into the air behind you.
  • Swing your right foot forward and through your arms into a low lunge.
  • Bring the heel of your foot on your left leg to touch the ground to help stabilize yourself.
  • Brace your core and find your balance as you swing your arms straight up above you while bringing your torso to an upright position looking straight forward in front of you.
  • Focus on keeping your right knee over your right ankle, placing the same amount of pressure into both feet, elongating through your torso, and stretching through your hip. 
  • Hold this pose, breathe, and repeat on the other side.

5. Tree pose

What is it and what is it good for?

Tree pose is one of the most common standing poses in yoga. It improves balance, strengthens the core, and provides stability to the groin, hips, pelvis, and thighs while also stretching and strengthening the ligaments and tendons in the feet.

How to perform it properly

  • Standing tall on your mat with both feet on the ground, shift your weight to one foot (we’ll use right foot in this example).
  • Engage your core and bring the bottom of your opposite foot (left foot) to touch the inside of your calf or inner thigh. You can use your hand to assist in hooking the foot to a comfortable position on the inner thigh.
  • With your hands, touch your palms together in a prayer position in front of your heart.
  • If you are feeling balanced, you can extend your arms and take your hands up over your head in a Y-position.
  • Breathe while holding this pose and repeat on the other side.
     

6. Bridge pose

What is it and what is it good for?

Bridge pose strengthens your glutes, lower back, legs, and ankles. It’s a heart-opening pose, which stretches out the spine and opens the hip flexors and shoulders. It alleviates tension and stress, promoting calmness through the body. 

How to perform it properly

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be hip-width apart. 
  • Place both arms along the side of your body with palms facing down. Your fingertips should just be able to graze the back of your heels.
  • Inhale while you lift your hips up, being sure not to let your knees cave in or roll outward.
  • Press your arms into the floor to lift your chest up. Then engage your legs and glutes to lift your hips higher.
  • Hold this pose for 4-8 breaths before slowly rolling your spine back to the floor. 

Which Yoga is Best for Beginners?

The best types of yoga for beginners are Restorative Yoga and Vinyasa Flow. Restorative Yoga is similar to Yin yoga in that it is a slower practice that holds poses for extended periods of time. Vinyasa Flow, on the other hand, is a faster-paced yoga practice that connects a series of poses together in more fluid and flowing movements—hence the name Vinyasa Flow.

Our recommendation for beginners is to try both and see which one works best for you.

MIRROR’S Vinyasa Yoga Flow classes challenge your athleticism at any level. Start with a beginner class and work your way up to expert.
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How to do Yoga at Home with MIRROR

MIRROR’s online yoga classes are the perfect at-home solution for yogis of all skill levels. Attend classes live or on demand at a time that’s convenient for you. Forget about driving to and from the yoga studio and paying for a membership—each one of MIRROR’s packages opens the door to a community of yogis and fitness enthusiasts from around the world, experiencing a new way to enjoy their home yoga practice.

We hope you’ll join us. Namaste.