It is easy to start a safe yoga practice at home with just a few basics. The first thing you need is a yoga routine you wish to try. This could be a beginner’s DVD or a yoga video that you can stream on your computer. You can learn more about the different types of yoga here.
Your next important pieces of equipment are comfortable clothes. You want to make sure that they are not too tight or too baggy. This will help you avoid injury.
A good non-skid yoga mat will allow you to practice your yoga safely almost anywhere, such as a carpeted or wooden floor. Choose a thicker mat if you have any joint issues or arthritis. Be sure to place your mat on a level surface to avoid tripping or turning an ankle.
Not every yoga pose requires you to turn into a pretzel, but there are a few yoga props that can support you in certain poses and deepen others. These include:
A yoga strap can be looped around the soles of your feet to help you deepen your bends. You can also support your leg during leg raises and grip the straps with both hands if you wish to do a stretch with your arms behind your back.
Blocks offer support and stability. They can be used with certain postures to make them either easier or more challenging. Some people also use them to sit on when holding a seated pose for a long periods of time.
A yoga bolster can be used to support the body in a number of ways, sitting or lying down, to help with form and comfort. They come in a wide variety of styles for different purposes, such as supporting your legs or back. They are ideal for making your Corpse pose more comfortable, as either a neck pillow or a support behind your knees.
The most popular cushion is the classic Zafu or medication cushion that looks like a powder puff. Others styles include a crescent-shaped cushion that supports the back and protects the knees. Wedge-shaped cushions that you put under your butt are also good because they stop you from slouching during your seated yoga poses and mediations.
Some people like to cover themselves when they are doing the Corpse pose for deep relaxation. Others use the blanket to practice on instead of a mat. Blankets are a good idea for anyone who has musculoskeletal issues, because cold muscles are more tense and therefore more prone to injury. If you don’t use a blanket, put a tracksuit over your yoga clothes before going into Corpse pose.
Other Helpful Tools
In addition to the props listed above, you might also find the following useful:
Chairs can be used for balance and certain poses. The chair seat should be upholstered and the chair placed on your mat so you do not slip in any way. A chair is also useful for those who can’t stand up for very long or who wish to try certain upright poses in a seated position without going down onto the floor.
Use the walls to steady yourself in different poses, either standing or inverted poses such as shoulder stands. For extra steadiness, use a corner of the room.
When you are first starting yoga, begin slowly and only do what feels comfortable. You won't have a teacher with you at home to make sure you are practicing safely, so make sure you warm up and cool down with some stretches at the start and end of each routine. Use reliable websites like Yoga Journal to learn more about each pose you see on the videos, and you will soon have a safe yoga routine to enjoy at home.