NAMASTE! Here’s how to start your yoga practice at home

As the nationwide quarantine continues, we are getting more concerned not only about our physical health but also about our mental and emotional well-being.

The lockdowns and social distancing have reduced our physical movements and social interactions. It has become vital for us to uplift our spirits without having to step out of the comfort of our home.

What a perfect time to start a regular yoga routine! Yoga is best suited for this quarantine period as it is a holistic practice that addresses our physical, mental, and spiritual needs.

I’d like you to feel successful in starting your home practice, so kindly allow me to give some useful tips:

A successful yoga practice needs both internal and external conditions of support. It is often said that our outer world accurately reflects our inner world. To some extent, having a peaceful outer world can help us reconnect to the peace and calm within.

Take advantage of this inner and outer relationship as you set up your space for your yoga practice.

• Choose or create a quiet, uncluttered space in your home. You don’t need a big space, but it should be quiet, clean, open, and sacred.

• All you need is a yoga mat, preferably with a good grip with ample thickness for joint support. You can also place a towel on top of it to absorb sweat and to add comfort. Blocks and bolsters are a good addition, but you can also use what’s available in your homes like books, pillows and blankets.

• Set realistic goals. You can initially practice twice a week. Make it a part of your morning or evening routine. Start with a beginner’s practice that is short — about 10 to 15 minutes — and easy, then build from there.

4) Chatvari – Exhaling, step back and lower down to Chaturanga Dandasana and then, look at your nose

• Stay safe to prevent injuries. Acknowledge your body’s vulnerable areas (injured parts or areas with some pain or discomfort). Modify, adjust and apply the appropriate intensity.

• Choose a yoga style or energy level that suits you. Before you start with your home practice, always ask yourself, “What does my body need today?” and “What’s my energy level today?” Maybe you need something more energetic or something more gentle and restorative. Choose what’s appropriate for you and pace yourself accordingly.

• Practice with a member of your family. Being held accountable by others can get you on your mat even during the dreariest of days.

Similarly, five important mental factors will support your practice.

5) Panca – Inhaling, roll to Upward-facing Dog and then, look at your nose.

1) Attitude. It should not be too idealistic nor too cynical. The “I-don’t-know-it-all” attitude is the best.

2) Stay curious. Cultivate the interest and desire to discover something more about yourself and your life as it unfolds, even in the unpleasant or difficult moments.

3) Motivation, determination and discipline. To benefit, you don’t have to like it, but you do need to do it.

4) Believe in yourself. Develop confidence in your ability and power to do something to help yourself manage fear, anxiety or panic in your life.

5) Kindness and compassion. Apply open heartedness and empathy to yourself and whatever discomfort or pain you might feel from stress, anxiety, fear or depression.

I have several beginner videos you can follow on my website. Choose which  flow is appropriate for you today.

6) Shat – Exhaling, push back to Downward-facing Dog and then look at your navel (five breaths)

The Surya Flow is a dynamic practice that is heating, stimulating and energetic. It builds strength, stability and stamina. For a 10 to 15 minute practice, repeat the sequence three to five times, then add Savasana.

The Chandra Flow is a gentle practice that is cooling, calming and therapeutic. It promotes relaxation, flexibility and awareness. For a 10 to 15 minute practice, repeat the sequence five to seven times, then add Savasana.

You may also visit my website to access more instructional videos from our Aquanimous Yoga TV channel. I also offer online classes via Zoom. We have daily classes in our AY Virtual Shala from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Check out our social media pages for updates: @AquanimousYoga (Instagram, Facebook & Twitter).