Having any sort of regular yoga routine is guaranteed to improve your life. No matter where you practice, at home or in a studio, the physical and mental benefits are the same but of course there are plus and minuses to both. Certainly, there are aspects of each that you can’t find in the other, so ensuring you feel comfortable practicing in both settings is ideal.
Luckily with the technology available in 2020, studios have adapted to be able to bring live stream classes to their students at home. For students, this means they can still ask questions and still have some sense of community and accountability. When things go back to normal and we can practice in a classroom again, the benefits are going to stand out even more.
- Being able to practice in a classroom is always a learning experience.
- Practicing with or in front of a teacher is great because they provide step by step instructions on how to get into a pose, when to breathe plus live feedback with alignment cues and adjustments.
- Teachers can give you modifications due to pregnancy or injury and teachers can help you get into poses you might think you cant do by helping you overcome your fears.
- Being in a classroom setting can help encourage you and give you inspiration.
- You meet new people and make new friends that can hold you accountable for getting to class.
- They can help you keep living a healthy lifestyle and are a great support group on and off the yoga mat.
- Calming and safe environment
- Props are usually available
- Practicing at a studio may help you push yourself harder
- Kids and pets cant disrupt you
The Not So Good:
- Having a membership at a studio can get a little bit expensive. However, most studios will offer different class passes or new member packages to try and make it as affordable as possible.
- Classes can get super packed and busy to the point where your mat might be touching someone else’s mat.
- Set place and time
- Have to leave to house
Having a home practice is more important now than ever as we all navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Home practices are becoming a mandatory thing and even with studios taking classes live, it is still not the same as being in an actual studio.
- You can practice any time and anywhere
- You don’t have to be social
- You don’t have to leave the house
- You can choose any style or type you want
- It is cheap or free
- You can make up your own sequences
- A home practice means you can go on vacation and not miss a day of yoga
The Not So Good:
- You need discipline
- Can be distracting, especially if you have cats, kids or dogs
- Not as much accountability
Easy at Home Routine:
- Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is a great way to calm the mind, body, and spirit and helps to reconnect the three. It is a great way to start a practice or just to do at any time you feel stressed or anxious and is especially useful for people who live with anxiety or panic disorders. Child’s Pose is considered a beginner pose but is also commonly used as a resting pose during vigorous classes like power or vinyasa yoga.
- Start by sitting on your heels and knees, with your toes pointing to the long sides of your mat.
- Bring your knees to the edges of your mat and start to walk your hands to the top of your mat.
- Spread your fingers wide
- Press your forehead down, press your palms down
- Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, stretch your fingers even closer to the top
- Start to take long, slow, deep breaths in and out of your nose, keeping your mouth closed the entire time
- Stay here for as long as you need
- Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is another great option to start a practice or to use as an active resting pose. This pose has a bit of an inversion element to it and it helps shift your energy and perspective, both physically and mentally. Downward Facing Dog has an effect on every muscle group in the body and is one of the most versatile and effective yoga poses.
- From child’s pose, lift your hips up and straighten your arms and legs, keeping a small bend in your elbows and knees, you should look like an inverted “v”
- Let your head hang towards the mat
- Ensure your hands are shoulder-width apart and your feet are hip-width distance apart
- Lift your tailbone towards the ceiling
- Press your heels down
- Stay for 3-5 deep breaths, in and out of your nose
Ragdoll is another pose that is great for beginners and also has an inversion element to it. Another active resting pose, ragdoll offers many benefits to the mind and body. Ragdoll is a great pose for releasing tension and changing views. This pose can easily be practiced anywhere at any time for a nice stretch
- From downward-facing dog, you can either walk your feet up to meet your hands or walk your hands back toward your feet
- Fold from your waist and wrap your hand around your opposite elbow
- Let your head fall between your arms
- Keep a small bend in your knees to protect your joints
- Press your heels down
- You can stay still or sway side to side, in circles or front to back
- Stay here for 3-5 breaths
- Seated Forward Fold
Seated Forward Fold is a great pose for beginners and one to practice every night before bed. It provides a deep stretch for the whole backside of your body. This is another very active resting pose or a great way to get deeper into your muscles.
- Sit on your mat with your legs straight in front of you
- Flex your toes towards your face
- As you inhale, lift your hand up towards the ceiling, stretching your spine
- When you exhale, fold forward, reaching towards your toes
- Stay here for 3-5 breaths and with each exhale, reach closer towards your toes
- Supta baddha konasana
Supta baddha konasana is a restorative yoga pose that helps reconnect the mind and body. It is another great pose for people who suffer anxiety and panic attacks as it can instantly relieve symptoms.
- Lay flat on your back and bring your heel together
- Let your knees fall towards the long edges of your mat
- Place one hand over your heart and the other on your belly
- Press your shoulders into the ground
- Press your lower back down
- You can use blocks under your knees for extra support
- Stay here and breathe deeply for as long as you need
There are so many benefits to getting upside down and reversing the blood flow for a little bit. This doesn’t have to be a handstand, inversions also include legs up the wall pose, shoulder stand and waterfall. Legs up the wall pose is something everyone can do as long as you are in a room with a wall.
- Back the short edge of your mat up to a wall and lay flat on your back
- Straighten your legs and rest them up on the wall
- Press your heels high and flex your toes towards your face
- Press your shoulders down
- Stay here for as long as you want
Also known as the final resting pose, this is best practiced at the end of a rigorous practice. It provides whole-body relaxation both mentally and physically
- Lay flat on your back
- Close your eyes
- Let your arms and legs fall towards the edges of your mat
- Let your palms face up
- Let your breathing slow down
- Let the ground support you
- Stay here as long as you need to
Benefits of a Home and/or Studio Practice:
There are numerous ways anxiety shows up in our lives. Luckily, yoga offers many ways to combat it, mentally and physically. The physical practice combined with deep breathing can instantly reduce and ease the physical symptoms of anxiety, like a racing heart and the tightening of muscles. Yoga also calms the brain of the racing thoughts that typically plague people who experience anxiety.
Decreases Stress Level
Similarly to anxiety, a majority of us experience stress on a daily basis. Developing a regular yoga practice will help maintain a healthy stress level and teach us how to not react in highly stressful situations. As with life, yoga practice can put you into some difficult poses, or hold you in a pose for a few long breaths, creating stress within the body. However, as we practice staying in poses with no reaction, we can learn to do the same in life.
During yoga practice, it helps to focus on one single point, especially in balancing poses. The more you practice, the easier concentrating becomes and who doesn’t need better concentration habits? Yoga also teaches you to stay focused while other things are going on, improving your concentration in everyday life as well.
Improves Self Esteem
There is no doubt that a physical yoga practice improves the look of your body. It also improves the quality of your skin. Feeling comfortable with the way you look is important to your quality of life and yoga can help you achieve your goals in your own time and at your own level. Yoga is accessible to everybody type, any ability, and any age.
There are many types of yoga with various types that include a mix of cardio, muscle building, and strength training. Practicing any of these types will raise your heart rate and engage all of your muscles, kickstarting and improving your metabolism. There is also “hot yoga” which turns the room temperature up helping you sweat out toxins.
Yoga poses are designed to stretch your muscles, keeping them nice and flexible. Being flexible helps maintain a healthy range of motion in your joints. Keeping your muscles and joints happy and healthy helps you easily perform your daily activities.
Detoxes the Body
There are many yoga poses that involve twisting. These twists stimulate your internal organs, forcing out toxins stored there. Join a hot yoga class to help detoxify even more. Hot yoga gets really sweaty and it can get intense but remember to drink plenty of water and breath deep.
Lengthens and Strengthens Muscles
The more you practice, the more your muscles get used over and over. This repetitive motion creates little tears in the muscle and when it repairs itself it gets stronger.
As your muscles get stronger and your flexibility improves your body is less prone to injury. Especially if your like high impact activities like running, cross-fit and weightlifting. Preventing injuries also helps you keep doing what you love, for many many years.
Improves Overall Health
Yoga provides an infinite number of benefits, both mentally and physically. Starting and maintaining a regular practice guarantees a healthier and happier life for you and those you interact with.