Yoga at home does not seem like a bad idea at all. Why wouldn’t it be? After all you are at your comfort zone, do not have to spend a dime or deal with guilt issues of missing a class. It is a win win situation!
A lot of my friends squirm when I talk about doing yoga at home. The thought of getting out of bed or take some time out for themselves scares them. It all requires devotion, motivation and self love to take out time for one’s own self. People have misconceptions that the time period they have selected should be the same for years, the intensity and the session should be long as a regular class usually is. No people, that is not at all necessary. There are no such rules for doing yoga. It is done in your free state of mind and time at any time of the day possible for the duration of your choice.
If you are thinking yoga is a recent fad, my friends, you are wrong again! Yoga has persisted from a very long time. It originated from the East. Buddhist associated yoga with “spiritual discipline” as the meaning of yoga suggests. The earliest signs of practicing yoga appear in artifacts found that date back to 1300 BC. Yoga was previously done to understand the world but later the purpose was shifted for self enlightenment. After that modifications have been made according to the modern practice based on 5 basic principles. They were:
- Proper exercise
- Proper relaxation
- Proper diet
- Proper breathing
- Positive thinking and meditation
You can start home yoga practice once you master the art of which poses to practice and how to fit them all in a workout plan. This takes years to study and then to apply according to your body type but I am sure if you just work on the building blocks, you can build up a castle in no time.
Principles of doing Yoga at home:
- Try to keep the session for a short time period. A session of 15 to 20 minutes will be more than enough to make it a habit.
- Shift the laziness away and just get yourself on the mat. To avoid such issues, choose the time of the day in which you are free from life’s hassles.
- Keep the exercises simple in the beginning. It’s better to start with some basic poses than move towards some really tough exercises.
- Add up the element of fun in your monotonous boring workout. Light up some scented candles or do yoga in open air. I can guarantee that it be the favorite part of the day.
Here are 5 ways and reasons, you can and you should use to start working on for yoga practice at your home:
5. Proper Relaxation
Add an Eastern touch to your life while living in the West. Take out that old dusty yoga mat your mom brought as a birthday gift from India. It is time to use it for the benefit of your stressed mind and soul. We all get caught up by what life offers us every day, struggling to complete tasks given at the institutions we work at then struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with our partners while juggling a healthy lifestyle. All of this builds up tension in unimaginable ways, alters the posture and leaves the muscles stiff. For that, there is a magic word. Relax!
Release the tension from your system. Relax and do yoga! Go search for your spot where there is sufficient air passageway, some greenery and is free from the worldly clutter. And no, I am not referring to your bedroom which seems like the only place to relax at home.
Take deep breaths once you find the ideal place to practice yoga and let peace surround your body and soul.
4. Proper Exercise
Before you start yoga, I would suggest some warm up exercises. Not only will they help you achieve the poses accurately in future but will also reduce the chances of getting muscles or ligaments torn or pulled out. These exercise help you achieve a mode or mindset whatever you want to call it and will help you stay focused.
There are a few exercises you can choose from for warming up your stiff body:
Pelvic tilt is an exercise of very gentle, slow spinal movements. They target the muscles at the lower back and the abdominal muscles by providing strength to them. Not only that, they are beneficial if you have complains of lower back pain.
How to do this is an interesting question?
- Lie down on your back or stand against the wall if you are pregnant.
- The feet should be no wider than the shoulder width.
- Make sure that the knees are flexed and the soles are touching the ground.
- Press your hands that are lying on either side of your body towards the ground, trying to pull the fingers as far as possible on the yoga mat.
- Rotate the hips, tuck them upwards and engage the glutes and then lower your body.
- Exhale as you make the curvature of the back pronounced.
- Inhale as you bring back the body back to its original position.
For Pregnant ladies:
- Stand against the wall with legs wide apart till the width of the shoulders.
- Exhale as you lift the pelvis against the wall towards your face pressing the lower back against the wall.
- Shift back to your original position by inhaling slowly.
- You can choose a gym ball to keep in between the legs to achieve the position.
- Do 8 to 12 reps for 2 to 3 sets.
Eye of the Needle Pose:
This position is common to the yogis as Sucirandhrasana. This position not only targets your glutes and the lower back, but also acts on the hamstrings. It stretches and opens the outer hips along with the lower body. Not only that, it improves the circulation of the lower limb but also reduces pain and body stiffness.
Here is how this is done:
- Lie on the back with legs and arms against the ground.
- Now place your right leg over the left.
- Pull the left leg close to the stomach. Hold and let yourself breath.
- Relax your hips and then change sides by moving gently.
- Deepen your breath as you hold the second leg in place.
- Relax, exhale and let down your leg.
- If it is difficult to hold the leg, you can use yoga straps by wrapping it around the thigh.
This pose is also known as Sukhasana. This is by far the easiest position to achieve for warm ups. It is the favorite of beginners.
Here is how you can do it:
- Sit in a comfortable cross legged position.
- Place a few blankets under your hips making sure that the thighs are under the level of hips.
- Start by doing some neck rolls then drop your chin towards your chest.
- Now roll the chin towards the left side of the shoulder.
- Circle the head backwards and again bring the shoulders towards to the left side.
- Do the same on the other side.
- If you have a stiff neck, then move the chin from ear to ear.
Do these in equal numbers for both the sides.
- Sit cross legged and spread the arms wide apart.
- Take the right arm underneath the left arm.
- Wrap them at the elbows and then at the wrist.
- If it is difficult for you then hold on your shoulders once you have twisted your arms at the elbow joint.
- Now pull the arms downward away from the face.
Seated Spinal Twist:
- Sit on the heels while keeping your back straight.
- Shift the butt to the left making sure the knees are bent.
- Raise the left knee up keeping the right foot on the floor.
- Now slide the left knee over the right side of the floor.
If achieving this position is difficult, extend the left leg rather than bending it towards the right.
Cat Cow Stretch:
This pose opens up the spine, provides movement and orients the body movements in accordance with the breath.
- Bend downwards keeping your palms on the ground, shoulder width wide while your legs are also bent with the knee touching the ground.
- Make sure that the palms are hitched behind the neck.
- Now bring the belly downwards, hips arched forward and the neck extended facing the roof like a cow and inhale.
- Now exhale and push your belly and spine outward bending the head downward towards the floor and inhale.
- Let go of the breath gradually as you gain back the original position.
- Downward facing dog Pose:
- Begin on all four limbs with spine facing the roof (the same position as a dog).
- Wrists on the ground spread apart at the shoulder width.
- Hips aligned with the spine with knees wresting on floor.
- Now lift the elbows slowly along with the knees putting in pressure on the tail bone.
- Tilt the head downwards.
- You can co cycling movements with the feet while you stretch out on your palms.
3. Proper Breathing
Proper breathing is equally important in yoga as proper exercises and proper techniques are. It is the foundation to yoga practice. Breathing is the key to life. Focused breathing is what yoga practice is based on. There are various practices that yogis practice while teaching yoga. Here are some techniques that you will come across if you practice yoga in a regular class:
Long, Deep “Complete” Breathing:
- This is practiced while sitting with the spine erect and chest expanded. Keep both the hands on the thighs, palms facing up towards the ceiling. The key point to remember here is to breathe through the nose deeply and slowly.
- Fill the stomach with air as you inhale stretching it while pressing the hands on the thighs for additional support. Take a few whiffs more till the lungs stretch out. Hold it for about 15 seconds and slowly let go.
- Increase the intensity of every breath you take reaching for minutes.
- Let go in a way that every muscle of the body feels like contracting.
- Do this for about three to eleven times even when you are sitting and working at your computer.
Abdominal breathing is practiced by placing a hand on the chest and the other on the abdomen. As you inhale keep in mind that the hand on abdomen should rise higher than the hand placed on the chest. Exhale through the mouth and take a long breath through the nose in a way that feels as if you are inhaling all the air present in the room and hold it for about 6 seconds. Slowly exhale out the air with more pressure than before.
Repeat the cycles four to five times.
Bellows Breathing Technique:
This technique provides energy and is great before having a fresh cup of coffee. For this technique sit upright with your back straight. Breath in and out using your nose instead of the mouth with breaths taken in and out is equal in length. Do this only for 15 seconds when you are starting to practice this.
It is safe to practice this exercise on a bed or on a chair for preventing the risk of hyperventilation.
Alternate Nostril Breathing:
It is the type of breathing that is done from one nostril at a time. This type of breathing directs proper flow of air to the nasal passage and also purifies the nostril.
To practice this technique you need to sit in a comfortable position and start breathing. Start by holding the right hand up and curl your pointer finger and the middle finger towards the palm. Now you have three fingers to work with. Hold the right nostril by the help of your thumb and the left nostril using the remaining two fingers. Take a deep breath using your left nostril and hold your breath till you count till 8. Then let go of the remaining two fingers to exhale out the inhaled air. Now repeat the same steps using the right nostril.
Practice this for 5 minutes gradually increasing the time period till 10 minutes.
This has helped me till now to relax and complete half of the article, I am sure it will help you stay fresh and complete long, time consuming tasks.
2. Proper Diet
Yes, diet control is also recommended in yoga. Yogis and naturopaths recommend dietary changes for mental peace and to get rid body ailments. Buddhist practices forbid eating meat; I on the other hand would like to suggest clean eating as meat is an essential part of our diet. Cut out the sugars, baked goodies, refined grains, sodas and liquor. Do not roll your eyes; I know this has been the most the difficult part to do for me as well when I diet. Avoid it for a week and you will notice the cravings committing suicide.
Choose healthy substitutes of food that you are habitual of having. That is what helps me when my taste remains the same when I diet. Have lots of fruit. Make it a habit of having at least one fruit in your breakfast. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
Here a few tips that will surely help you for a healthy, happy, clean eating habit:
Whole grains, raw veggies, un processed food, lean meat, fish and the least amount of fatty foods help keep the mind fresh along with body.
Eat fermented foods. Wait, what?
- Avoid Junk Food. There is no compromise on this one as the preservatives and the carbohydrates, additional sugars and flavors are the disasters for a healthy body. Not only are these bad for the body but also spoils your mood.
- A study was conducted by the students and professors of UCLA in 2013 and found that fermented products contain some healthy bacteria called Probiotics that are beneficial for detoxifying the body and also for mental health.
- Yes lovelies, fermented foods include yoghurts, miso (a Japanese dish having fermented soy bean paste), kombucha (fermented drink brewed with yeast), keifr etc.
- Have plenty of sea food as it contains omega 3 fatty acids which are important for brain development.
1. Positive Thoughts And Positive Energy
What we think affects who we are. This is not something that I read in a magazine. This is actually the truth. Do not feel low and do not compare yourself with others as this shatters self-confidence. Furthermore,
- Chase off your bad thoughts with the good ones. Let positive vibes sink in. Play Pollyanna’s glad game and find good in everything.
- Channel the positive energy in doing something productive like building your cat a new toy or by investing it in yourself by trying some new yoga poses.
- Yoga focuses on gaining the positivity back out of the darkness that has infiltrated our body. Do these poses and brighten that dull life you have.
- “Yoga is the journey OF THE SELF, THROUGH THE SELF, TO THE SELF.”
- Bhagvat Gita
Yoga not only helps tone body but the fact that it has been practiced for thousands of years shows that it has many benefits.
- It provides better sleep by releasing all the buildup energy from the body.
- Yoga at first drains out the energy but as you build up the habit of doing it daily, you will feel positive energy surround you.
- Yoga provides you more strength than any normal exercise would. It teaches you the art of balancing the body with the weight.
- Yoga makes sure your sex life gets spiced up because it teaches you to stretch your body to limits you have never imagined. Not only that, it teaches you to manage the body angles, provides more strength and stamina for extended hours.
- It lowers blood pressure in turn reducing cardiovascular complications.
- Yoga increases pain tolerance in people as it aligns the body, due to which pain fades away.
- Yoga improves the metabolism of the body by increasing the lean muscle of the body.
- It builds up a strong immune system to combat diseases.
- It provides better respiration to the lungs and other cells of the body along with relaxing the body.
- Yoga provides better circulation to the body by doing some really tough exercises that readily pumps blood from the heart to the body.
- Aids in maintaining a better posture by relaxing the tense body muscles.
- Yoga builds up concentration that helps maintain balance more easily.
- It helps lower the body weight along with toning the body.
- Reduces stress and anxiety by practicing deep breathing exercises.
- Improves the memory and it provides a good blood supply to the brain that is essential for building up memory.
- Lowers cholesterol levels if practiced daily along with taking medications.
- It prevents osteoporosis and allows joint mobility to a longer period of time.
- Prevents GI disturbances like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, constipation.
- Reduces the chances of colonic or rectal cancer.
- Protects the spine by building its shock absorbing capability.
- Helps fight cancer by reducing stress and stressors that aid in progression of cancers.
- Elevates the mood.
- Provides inner peace once you let go of the stress and things that trouble you.
- Lowers cortisol levels that are secreted from the adrenal gland.
- Hot yoga ensures that your elevated Sodium levels reach back to normal.
- Improves the eye sight and the complexion of the skin.
- Improves the way you look at life. It provides positivity and motivation to deal an upcoming day with a smile.