When the world is devoid of balance and chill, yoga is essential.
Let’s talk about doing yoga at home. I don’t know about you, but for me the sheltering-in-place and social distancing we’re practicing because of the coronavirus pandemic makes me feel like we’ve dropped into an alternate reality. In some ways it feels like this global crisis is shining a spotlight on all of our cracks and fissures, both in society and within ourselves.
But the general chaos of the world is why, to me, this whole situation is kind of an ideal time to begin a yoga practice—because it might just help you find the inner balance required to survive this era of upheaval. Yoga helps us find balance and chill within ourselves when those qualities are in short supply in our environments. Plus, it can be adapted for every body type and lifestyle. And you don’t need to buy special clothes or even leave your house. Plus: If other fitness practices, like running or at-home workouts, are saving your quarantine life, yoga will be an invaluable accompaniment to the good vibes they’re already bestowing.
If you regularly went out to yoga classes before the pandemic, a home yoga practice is a must because it will help you sustain a yoga practice long term. I’m actually a proponent of having a home practice in general, because otherwise it can be all too easy to rely on one specific teacher, studio, or philosophy to hold down your practice. And when that happens, if something changes in your life (perhaps like a global pandemic requiring mass shelter-at-home rules mandated by the state), it becomes much easier to let your yoga practice slide to the back burner. But the practice of doing yoga at home can rock and shift with the curvatures of your lifestyle no matter what’s going on.
Here’s how to get started, whether you’re brand-new to yoga or have been practicing in classes and studios.
1. Start with five minutes, five poses, or five counts of breath work
There’s no minimum required duration for practicing yoga, and every breath counts. Particularly if you’re feeling nervous about getting started, try not to bite off more than you can chew. Instead of making a huge time commitment right off the bat, start by making small, sustainable commitments.
You can also start by committing to practicing just one pose and let things grow organically from there. Let your body tell you how much it wants to move. Even if you’re used to 45-minute or hour-long workout or yoga classes, there’s no need to commit to more than a 20-minute online class (or doing 20 minutes of a longer class) if that’s what makes you feel good. As my sis Adriene Mishler says, “Find what feels good.”
2. Check in on your alignment as you go
If you’re new to yoga or new to practicing on your own, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting into positions that are safe. Don’t be afraid to rewind or pause an online class so you can take a second look at what your teacher is doing. If you’re flowing on your own without an online class, cross-reference your postures with books, websites like Yoga Journal’s Pose Library, and YouTube tutorials by teachers like Kino Macgregor.