Knowing how to start yoga at home is much easier when you’re learning from an experienced yoga instructor. That’s why I created Beginner Yoga online here.

Yoga is a great form of exercise with many benefits, not only increasing strength training and flexibility but also increasing one’s overall happiness. Maybe you’ve heard of all the benefits yoga has to offer and you want to cash in as well, or maybe you’ve seen amazing results from friends or family members and you want to try it too, but don’t totally know where to begin. This article is for you.

New to yoga?

A woman folding her Yoga Mat

Yoga has a rich history of over 5,000 years, helping people everywhere reap amazing rewards such as better sleep, weight loss, strength training, increased flexibility, lower blood pressure, balance, and increased health. Yoga means “unity” in Sanskrit, and practicing yoga can help bring unity and harmony to all aspects of your life. People of all ages and all walks of life practice yoga and love it. So, even if you’re a beginner, there is no time like the present to start.

How to start yoga at home

Yoga partners have a yoga class in a comfortable space at home with their yoga supplies. 

Finding a yoga class near you can be very beneficial for accountability reasons and can help you learn even more, however, if you are just starting out you may want to practice at home to get a feel for yoga and see if a class is worth spending your money on. Yoga at home is also very beneficial because no one is watching you and you can go at your own pace. Here are some tips to help get you started on your yoga journey:

  • Get some yoga supplies.

Some yoga props, like a yoga mat, a couple of yoga blocks, and a yoga strap, make doing the yoga poses a little easier. They are worth buying, however, you could try using a belt instead of a yoga strap too.

  • Find a comfortable yoga space.

Your yoga space doesn’t have to be big, but just a clean space you can dedicate to doing yoga. Having a clean, designated space will help you free your mind and focus on healing and breathing.

  • Find a yoga partner and/or take a class

A yoga partner can help you stay accountable, and if you feel ready finding a local yoga class can help you make more friends and learn a lot of new poses. If you prefer to stay at your house there are many beginner-friendly youtube videos, online courses, and books at the library that can help you learn and practice yoga.

There are some yogis who have been doing yoga for years and can do these complex poses that, while cool to watch, can leave you feeling overwhelmed and intimidated. No need to worry- they have been practicing for a long time and they started with the basics. Start with the basic poses, they’re awesome, and once you’ve learned them then you can increase your level. (Someday you may be one of those intimidating yogis!)

  • Focus on your breathing.

Yoga is as much about breathing and meditation as it is about poses. It’s important to focus on deep breathing exercises during your yoga routine.

  • Start with 2-3 times a week and gradually increase.

Start slow with yoga. You don’t have to do it every day, in the beginning, to reap the rewards, though you may learn that you love it and want to do it that often. Start small and work your way up.

Basic yoga terms to know:

A group of people doing yoga

Yoga has a whole language attached to it that may seem very confusing at first. (Actually, because the primary language for yoga is Sanskrit, all the poses have a Sanskrit name as well as their English counterpart.) It can get a little overwhelming, especially when a yoga instructor says something that you don’t understand. There is a bunch of yoga lingo and terms that may seem weird at first, but no need to worry. Here are a few common terms and their meanings to help you understand the basics. Yogi- The term “yogi” refers to someone who is very into yoga and does it often. (If you’ve done a couple of downward dogs in your life you may not be considered a yogi, but the more you practice yoga and come to love it, you’ll soon be a yogi too.) Asana- The term “asana” means the pose or position you do in yoga. Things like Downward Facing Dog or Warrior 1 are asanas.

There are 84 traditional asanas in yoga but many more variations to the poses. Vinyasa- “Vinyasa” yoga is an approach to yoga in which one moves into one pose directly from the next. It is a much more fast and often physically challenging form of yoga, as compared to “Hatha” yoga, where you slowly and deliberately move into each pose. Pranayama- The term “pranayama” means the breathing technique in yoga. (In Sanskrit “prana” means “vital life force,” and “yana” means “gain control.”) Pranayama techniques focus on clearing any physical, mental, or emotional obstacles that may be trapping the free flow of breath. Drishti- “Drishti” means concentration or focused gaze.

Practicing Drishti can help you focus on your pose and keep your eyes pointed where they need to be, and also help you meditate and concentrate inward and on your body’s needs. Ujjayi- The term “ujjayi” is a type of breathing technique. (In Sanskrit it means “victorious breath,” and is sometimes referred to as “the Ocean Breath,” or “Cobra Breathing.”) It is a deep breathing technique that can help you gain increased energy, balance, calm, and remove toxins from the body. Namaste- “Namaste” is a heartfelt form of greeting. It means “the divine light in me bows to the divine light in you.” It is a sign of respect, often said at the end of a yoga session.

Four basic poses to get you started

Here are four basic poses (and their Sanskrit names)  to get you started. They are fun, easy to do, and beginner-friendly.

  • Mountain pose (Tadasana)
  • Child’s pose (Balasana)
  • Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
  • Corpse pose (Shavasana)