Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

yoga-at-homeYoga has unbelievable benefits on your body and soul. If you wish to practice yoga at home, here are some tips to make your at-home yoga workout effective and successful.

Buy an At-Home Yoga DVD

Yoga DVDs are the perfect guide for your at-home yoga workout. The visual explanation makes learning easy and effective. You may play or pause the DVD in order to perfect your posture. It is a good idea to learn from the yoga DVDs which are designed by professional trainers.

Comfortable Clothing and a Good Mat

Even while practicing yoga at home, use a mat that adds padding when you are lying, sitting or kneeling. Carpet can be too harsh or not provide enough grip. Select a mat which does not slip. Comfortable clothing will make your postures and stretches comfortable. Since you are in your own home, you could practice in your pajamas! It is also good to practice yoga barefoot.


During your at-home yoga workout, make sure your breathing is correct. Correct breathing important for your yoga to be effective. But any decent yoga DVD should be reminding you of this just as a live yoga teacher would.

Never Strain

While doing yoga exercises at home, focus on perfecting each pose. But understaqnd that complete mastery make take weeks or months or even years! Be patient. Make sure you don’t strain or over stretch to increase your flexibility or strength.

Do Your Yoga Routine First Thing in the Morning

If practicing at home, it is wise to do yoga first thing in the morning. This way you will stretch your muscles and also ensure proper mental and physical state for the entire day.

Avoid Eating Before an At-Home Yoga Session

Drink sufficient water before starting and avoid eating for two hours before you begin your yoga exercises. You are generally allowed to eat within 20-30 minutes after your yoga session.

Avoid Drinking Water During Yoga Practice

You must avoid taking water breaks during the yoga sessions as your concentration may break and you may feel nauseous. You may drink water directly afterwards.

DO NOT Fast Forward or Skip Ahead Through Your Home Yoga DVD

Do the exercises in the correct order, given by your yoga DVD. The DVD, like any regular yoga class, is designed to first warm your body up and later wind you down properly while focusing on different muscle groups, usually in a specific sequence. Many yoga DVDs offer options for short and extended routines.

If you are looking for an at-home yoga solution, I highly recommend Yoga Tune Up®, a home fitness system created by Jill Miller. Her website, offers both dvds and online videos for instant download. There’s also an amazing blog which is updated twice a week which I’m sure you’ll find interesting. Yoga Tune Up® actually goes beyond what you would find in typical yoga dvds. Jill’s instruction puts an emphasis on human anatomy and crosses over into pilates as well as body therapy and self massage. It is truly unique and not something you will normally see with most at home yoga programs. Click either of these links to find out more.

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

yoga-at-home2Yoga doesn’t need to be done in a studio for $14 an hour. The beauty of yoga is that it can be done right in your own home for free. While yoga classes are nice sometimes because you can pick up great tips and techniques, the best yoga is done at your own pace in a quiet place where you can really get deep into yourself and your asanas.

In the east where yoga is more traditional, yoga practices are much quieter with meditation and prayer. Many of the masters who originated yoga practiced yoga in caves and alone in the forest. The traditional ways of practicing yoga are much different than some of our popular western studios with music, fast paced sun salutations and “power yoga”. Home practices can be a nice experience and really allow a person more depth in and connection in their yoga routine.

One way to develop a beginner home yoga routine is with videos. Some videos are better than other so you may have to try a few before you find a style or series that fits your preferred method of yoga. Many local libraries have videos that you can check out for free including basic yoga routines. Most video rental stores also have yoga videos you can rent. If you find one you like they might have a series of them. Videos can get boring after several repetitions, but they can be a great way for a beginner to start a yoga routine at home. Videos are also beneficial because you can pause and work on certain asanas for long periods. Once you are familiar with flows and different asanas, you may even add your own asanas to the routines.

Another way to make great yoga routines at home is by using a good yoga book that has courses in it. This can be a little harder because you don’t have a live person or a video to guide you through the routines, but for the more advance to intermediate yoga student, this can be a good way to go. As with most subjects, yoga has many poorly written books with little content. Take your time looking at books and choose a good one with decent content and routines that fit both the level of yoga you are comfortable with and a style you enjoy.

One of the best books available is Light on Yoga by BK S Iyengar. This book has over 544 pages and a good sized section of asana routines that would take years to perfect. With a good book like this, you can layout home yoga routines from beginner asanas to very advanced asanas. This book could literally provide a person with a lifetime of study and home yoga practices.

The best home yoga practices and routines take bits and pieces from all different places. You can learn yoga from classes, videos or books and then apply them to your own lessons and routines that you have created. This allows you to focus on exploring and expanding yourself at your own special pace. By practicing yoga by yourself, you can truly experience the full mental, spiritual and physical benefits of yoga.

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

yoga-at-home3Knowing which Yoga poses to do is key when it comes to getting the most out of your practice. If you are a beginner just starting out, make sure you learn the right Yoga beginner poses. There are specific Yoga poses that are best for learning in the beginning, and if you put your attention towards understanding and attaining those poses correctly, you will build a solid foundation that will help you safely move forward towards more advanced poses.

Beginners should start with Yoga poses from 4 main categories: Standing Poses, Seated Poses, Inverted Poses, and Resting Poses.

Standing Poses are done while standing on one or both feet. They are the most important poses to learn for most beginners because they strengthen and align the legs while teaching all of the major movements of the body. It is while practicing standing poses that we begin to learn how to correctly move in forward bends, backward bends, twists, and even inversions.

Seated Poses are very rejuvenating to the legs, which is one of the reasons that we practice them after the standing poses, where the legs have to work vigorously. The seated poses open and strengthen the legs and hips while also increasing circulation. Sitting in various Yoga poses is curative to the ankles, knees, and hips.

The next category of Yoga beginner poses is Inversions, which means being upside down. These Yoga poses are very good for promoting overall health because of the powerful effect they have on the circulatory system. The first inversion beginners learn is very easy; you basically lay on your back with the legs up the wall. But over time that simple pose lays the foundation for more advanced inversions like the classic headstand, which requires skill and concentration.

Finally, you should always include a Relaxation Pose to complete your Yoga practice. Relaxation is an important subject in Yoga, because ultimately we want to learn how to be relaxing “inside” at the same time we are vigorously working in an active or difficult yoga pose. Not only does the final relaxation pose help us let go of tensions from the active yoga poses we’ve practiced, it also helps us actually learn how to relax deeply, which is something we enjoy in the moment and also learn to apply in everyday life. The classic Yoga relaxation pose is simply laying flat on your back on the floor, perhaps with a blanket under the head and a bolster under the knees. If the back is sore then placing the legs on a chair is even better than a bolster.

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

yoga-at-home4There are libraries full of books that detail all the various yoga poses and postures developed over the ages and many of these books are excellent reference guides which all serious yogis should own. But in this article I am going to condense all these poses and postures into just 10. What I am going to provide you is the 10 best yoga poses and detail for you the benefits and practice details of each.

These 10 poses are from the 2 most popular schools of yoga, Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga. I have selected 5 poses from each of these 2 yoga styles in order to compile this top 10 list. These 10 exercises cover all aspects of the body, thus incorporating them into your personal yoga routine will make your program a total body workout.

Below are the top 5 poses from Kundalini Yoga, which are then followed by the top 5 poses from Hatha Yoga.

1. Kundalini Yoga Stretch Pose for Abs


Done by raising the head and heels 6 inches off the floor and doing powerful Breath of Fire Breathing Exercise.


Strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.
Builds character and willpower.
Gives you energy and power.

2. Eagle Pose for Powerful Aura


Taken by sitting up nice and tall and then extending your arms out at sixty degrees. Have your thumbs facing up and the rest of the fingers curled in towards the palm.


Excellent for cleansing and building your Aura and Magnetic Field. 
Gives you charisma and magnetism. 
Protects you from negative energy and negative forces.

3. Archer Pose for Confidence and Self-esteem


Take the posture by leaning forward on one leg and pretending to aim a bow. Do one side at a time and breathe powerfully as you focus and hold this pose.


Builds confidence and courage. 
Opens up your subtle channels and lets your energy flow. 
Expands and builds your Nervous System. 
Tones your legs and shoulders.

4. Yoga Frog Exercise for Toned Butt and Thighs


Squat down with head up to start and then rise up as shown below. Keep the hands on the floor throughout. Inhale when squatting down, exhale as you rise up.


Excellent for toning your Buttocks and Thighs. 
Good for building fitness, endurance and heart health. 
Improves sexual potency and vitality.

5. Crow Pose for Root Chakra Cleansing


Take this posture by squatting down and extending your arms forward, with the fingers clasped. This unusual pose has proven to be a great way to cleanse and balance the Root Chakra.


Opens and clears the Root Chakra for security, fearlessness and practical thinking. 
Good for your hips, groin, knees and ankles.

Here now are the 5 best Hatha Yoga poses.

1. Forward Bend for Healing


No yoga practice is complete without this pose. It is a must do everyday posture and is great for overall flexibility and healing. To do this pose, simply sit with your legs extended and then reach forward towards your toes. Just reach down as far as comfortable and lean forward as far as comfortable.


Excellent pose for overall health and longevity. 
Great for the back, spine, hamstrings, calves and hips. 
Helps the entire Nervous System and Digestive System.

2. Camel Pose for Opening Heart Chakra


This is another posture you need to be careful with, so please be careful while doing int. To come into this pose, sit up in rock pose, then reach back and place your hands on your heels as you arch your back and expand your chest region outwards.


Great pose to open and balance the Heath Chakra to promote love and compassion. 
Good for overall health and well-being. 
Helps regulate and tone the Digestive System.

3. Downward Facing Dog Pose


To take this pose you form an inverted V using your arms and legs. Press back towards the ground with your heels and press down with your chest to accent this stretch.


Good to strengthen your arms and shoulders. 
Good for your overall flexibility. 
Helps develop and expand your Nervous System.

4. Bow Pose for Eternal Youth


Again please be careful when coming into this posture. To take it, lie on your stomach and then reach back and grasp your ankles and then raise your upper torso and thighs off the ground.


Known to keep you young and healthy. 
Excellent for your Digestive System and Respiratory System. 
Excellent for your back and spine.

5. Shoulder Stand for Brain Fitness


It is good to have an inversion in your practice as it helps to realign the body from time to time. To take this pose, support your lower back with your hands and reach up with your legs. Be careful of your neck.


Helps to nourish the brain with nutrients and oxygen rich blood. 
Helps to realign the organs. 
Boosts overall health and Immune System.

10 Best Yoga Poses Summary:

So there you have the top 10 list of the best yoga poses. I hope you are able to incorporate some of these into your practice, for the most important aspect of yoga is doing it.

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

yoga-at-home5We often lead busy and chaotic lives, cutting corners and ignoring guidelines in an attempt to do something faster, better or more efficiently. In our attempt to fit everything into a busy day we often compromise or gloss over the necessary preparation for yoga that otherwise would enhance the benefits of our yoga practice.

In order to have the ‘ultimate beneficial yoga experience,’ you need to follow certain guidelines and pointers. If you can adapt your practice to take notice of these pointers and incorporate them into your busy day it will improve your yoga practice and you will experience the benefits of yoga more deeply.

When you start your yoga routine, try and RELAX. Let your mind go blank. Give it permission to release the worries of the day. Attempt to bring your focus into you. However, don’t become frustrated if at first you can’t still your racing mind. Often this is exceptionally hard, however with regular yoga meditation practice you will learn to achieve this state of relaxation faster and faster. A good way to start is with 5 to 10 minutes of Savasana (this is the corpse pose).

Now Savasana can be practiced at any time throughout your yoga session, you don’t need to practice it at any particular time, but it is effective in calming the mind and allowing you to focus in on you and the start of your yoga practice. As it assists relaxation, savasana often concludes a yoga class with the teacher usually leading the class through a process of guided meditation.

Once you have your focus centered on you, then concentrate on your BREATHING.
It takes a short while to learn to properly breathe in the yogic fashion, however once achieved it will definitely make the practice of the asanas easier. Bear in mind that yogic breathing is different. To breathe properly in the yoga style, ALWAYS breathe in through the nose unless your instructor tells you otherwise and out through the mouth. Try and make the length of your in breath equal the length of your out breath. When you’re ready, try to co-ordinate the progression of one yoga position to another with your breath. You wish to achieve a flowing motion between breath and movement.

When breathing is established, bring your AWARENESS in to you. By this I mean, focus on what is happening in your body and in your mind while seeking to perfect each yoga pose.

Try to observe or become aware of:

1. How your body feels when it’s in certain positions. If it feels well, then move into the particular yoga position a little further, if your body twinges, then listen to it and back off. You’re not ready for that intensity;

2. What sensations are traveling through your body? Heat, fatigue or even a sense of nothingness. Each has meaning and your yoga practice can be modified to accommodate each sensation;

3. What your breath is doing throughout each yoga pose. Are you using your breath to assist you into the pose?

Most importantly, become aware of what thoughts and feelings course through your body while moving from one asana to the next and practice accepting those thoughts and feelings, without judgment. Just let those thoughts and feelings exist, observe them, without comment!

Now look at the STRUCTURE of your yoga practice. As it is important to balance the body and the mind, you need to structure your poses. Each forward bend should be followed by a backward bend. The poses you do on one side should be done on the other side of your body as well.

Now what is the best TIME to practice yoga? Many say generally in the mornings, just on arising as your mind is clear, free of thoughts and the air is still and quiet, there is no disturbance to interrupt your focus on you and your practice. The second best time to practice yoga is during the evening, those 2-3 hours around sunset. The chaos of the day has abated, and you can focus more clearly.

For many of us these times don’t suit our lifestyles or commitments. So my belief is that yoga can actually be practiced at any time during the day. Whenever you are able to take a block of time for yourself. The only caveat to that is that you shouldn’t practice yoga for at least two hours after a meal. So if early afternoon is a time that you can plan to have free, and be at liberty to focus on you without interruptions, then that is then the best time for you to practice yoga.

The last guideline for a beneficial yoga experience is to consider the PLACE or SPOT to conduct your yoga practice in. What you want is a well ventilated area, but on the other hand not one that is draughty. You need the ventilation as your body will generate heat during the practice of the poses and you will perspire. On the other hand you don’t want a draught in the room to chill and stiffen your muscles.

Also, the spot you choose should be quiet and still. So that your mind doesn’t wander it’s a good idea to choose the same spot for your yoga practice each time. If you’re familiar with the spot, you won’t be focusing on unnecessary things which will leave your mind free to focus on your practice.

If you choose to practice outside in the open air, then try not to practice in a cold breeze or conversely under the hot sun. Use common sense and find a spot that is comfortable for you.

As a final thought, always have something between you and the ground. In that regard a MAT is essential. There are some great mats and meditation pillows to be had which will definitely enhance your experience.

If you follow these simple guidelines, you can be assured that you will benefit from your yoga practice as you will have removed any physical obstacle which may interfere with your ability to build on and further your yoga practice.