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Do Yoga at Home?, Here Its Tips

Learn the basic poses from an expert instructor before beginning your own practice. Classes develop a sense of community and they’re motivating. Plus, your instructors can make hands-on corrections if you’re doing something wrong.

# Plan Wisely

Choose a time and place where you won’t be disturbed. This might be in the morning, when your mind is quiet and receptive, or in the evening, when your body isn’t so stiff. It doesn’t matter when, as long as you do it consistently

# Get a Note From Your Teacher

Ask your instructor to write down some of the poses you did in class, or to recommend a sequence for you to do at home. As you practice the sequence at home, try to remember the points your teacher made.

# Pin It Up

You can buy a poster that shows all 440 poses in the Ashtanga primary series. Mount it on the wall where you practice for easy reference as you go, whether you plan to practice five poses or 50.

# Equip Yourself

The only equipment you really need is a sticky mat, comfortable clothing and your bare feet. Props like blankets, blocks and straps can ease you into more difficult poses, but your focus in the beginning should simply be on mastering the basics.

# Get Warm

It’s important to start with a warm-up to get movement and flow going. This will prepare your body for tougher postures that require more strength and stability to perform. Your warm-up should take between five and 10 minutes, but it’s more important to observe how your body feels than to watch a clock.

# Start Slow

When you’re beginning a practice on your own, one hour of yoga can feel overwhelming. Keep it simple so that you want to continue. Start with a few poses you know and feel confident doing. When you’re finished, lie in a corpse pose—on your back, letting feet fall open, arms relaxed at sides, palms up—for five minutes. Repeat this routine for two weeks, paying attention to how your body feels. Gradually add new poses and hold them a little longer.

# Always Breathe

In yoga, pranayama, or breath control, is essential. The breath is used in a variety of ways—to energize, to relax or to connect one pose to another. First, inhale, filling belly, rib cage and finally lungs, then exhale in the reverse order. Don’t rush; keep both inhale and exhale even and equal in time.

# Get a Leg Up

Because leg strength is the key to many yoga poses, make sure to work from the legs. Do standing postures first, then twists, then forward bends and finally backbends. Following this sequence will allow you to prepare your arms, shoulders and spine for more-intense poses.

# Stop, Look and Listen

Your home practice is an opportunity to take note of how your body and mind feel and to make the yoga truly your own. Tune in to how you’re feeling as you practice, and pay attention to the instructions you’re giving to yourself—the attention you’re paying to your breathing, posture and strength. Essentially, listen to the voice of the teacher inside yourself.

# Don’t Push It

Save poses you don’t feel confident doing for class, when you can be supervised. For instance, a headstand, done incorrectly, can lead to serious neck and shoulder injuries and shouldn’t be practiced by anyone without the requisite experience.

# Cool Down

You may be tempted to skip a cool-down when pressed for time. Don’t. Always end with corpse pose—even if it’s only for a few minutes.

# Make a Deal

A deck of yoga cards is a terrific way to mix up a new series of poses for each workout, and you can lay them out right next to your mat. Some decks also come with suggested sequences.