In the wake of the pandemic, we’ve all had to start doing a lot more things at home. Working from home, shopping from home, learning from home…it’s a big adjustment!
Not having access to gyms and fitness classes is another thing that we’ve all had to get used to as well. Outdoor walks are great, but it’s definitely more difficult to get enough movement into your day.
That’s where yoga comes in! Whether you’ve never given yoga a second thought, or you’ve dabbled in a few classes here and there, yoga is one of the most accessible and pandemic-friendly ways for you to get up and get moving, regardless of how busy your schedule is.
The Basics: What You’ll Need
Trust me when I say that you don’t need to spend a lot on fancy gear to get started. If you’re brand-new to the idea of doing yoga though, I do recommend having a few things on hand to make the practice more enjoyable.
- A Yoga Mat
Seems obvious, right? Well, when I say “yoga mat,” I mean a mat specifically for yoga and not just a general exercise mat.
Yoga mats are designed to be nonslip on the bottom, lightly sticky on top (to help you hold poses), and perfectly cushioned for the types of movement you’ll be doing. Exercise mats typically aren’t, and let me tell you, it’s not fun at all to try to do a downward-facing dog on a foam mat that’s sliding around on the floor.
Personally, I usually recommend Gaiam yoga mats ($28.99) to beginners because they’re pretty budget-friendly, and they have all of the features you need for a comfortable yoga session.
However, if you know you want to make yoga a habit, I highly recommend spending just a little bit extra on a Manduka mat. The Manduka Begin ($36.86) is my favorite entry-level option because of its cushioning, texture and subtle alignment line to help you get a pose just right.
- Form-fitting Clothes
You don’t need expensive, skin-tight workout outfits, but it’s helpful to wear clothing that isn’t baggy. Warrior 3 is much less enjoyable when you’re trying not to get tangled up in your oversized t-shirt and flowy pants!
If you want to spend a few dollars on a set of yoga blocks, I think they’re a great investment (they’re useful for any kind of home workout!). You can find tons of affordable options online, so choose whatever fits your budget.
If you’d rather not buy any extra gear just yet, I recommend grabbing a few hefty books (textbooks work well) and keeping them nearby. Blocks are a game-changer when it comes to making difficult poses easier, and you can eventually use them to make other poses more challenging when you’re feeling more confident.
There’s an App For That
Now that you know what you need, you’re probably wondering where to go. Searching terms like “yoga class online” can lead you down a strange and confusing rabbit hole, so let me direct you to a few helpful resources.
There are two apps that I always use for at-home yoga.
The first is Daily Yoga. You can sign up for a free or paid membership, and you get access to tons of different yoga classes. There are slow, restorative sessions; faster, more intense workout sessions; and even just more traditional sun and moon salutations. The app also gives you access to learning resources, which I love!
The second is Down Dog. Down Dog offers a free trial so that you can try it before you commit to a subscription. Subscriptions are super affordable though, and you get access to their whole family of fitness apps (hello, barre and HIIT!). Down Dog offers a more customizable practice, and the routines are different every time.
If you’d prefer to stick to YouTube, here are a few channels I like!
Bonus Tips to Help You Get Started
– Remember to be kind to yourself! It sounds corny, but they call it a yoga “practice” for a reason. Whether you’ve never done a pose before, or you’re finally stepping back onto the mat after years away, it’s okay to wobble, change up a pose or decide that you want 10 extra minutes of meditation.
– Go with the flow. Even though you nailed upward dog yesterday, you might struggle with it tomorrow, and that’s fine! It’s always better to listen to your body and go slower than you think you should. I’ve been doing yoga for a decade, and I still never know if I’ll be able to do tree pose without wobbling!
– Try anything and everything. I absolutely believe that yoga is for everyone. There are so many styles to choose from that everyone can find at least one that they enjoy. Remember that yoga can be as fast or slow and as healing or intense as you want.
– If you want to try a slow, restful practice, search for yin yoga. For a more upbeat workout, try ashtanga. If you just want to learn a simple routine to get you going, try sun or moon salutations.
– And finally, have fun! Whether you can get on the mat for five minutes or a full hour, spend that time focused on moving your body in the best way you can. I promise you’ll feel better afterward.
Photo credits: Dana Wetton on Unsplash, Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
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