The last 2 years has seen so many changes to our daily routines, rituals and habits. This includes how we spend our time at home and how we practice Yoga and exercise. Virtual Yoga has been an incredible tool that allows you to access top quality classes, wherever you are. Thanks to online yoga, you can access the expansion, guidance and energy that you are seeking from your yoga practice from the comfort of your own home, from the open road, or anywhere your travels take you.
We are so passionate about helping our tribe find their ZONE, that we have put together a comprehensive guide for Yoga at home, including how to create your space and 2 weeks of FREE access to The ZONE, so you can practice with us. You don’t have to look externally to #LIVEBETTER, everything you need is already right here at your fingertips.
WHY PRACTICE YOGA?
What is your reason for practising Yoga? Are you looking to stay fit and build strength, or do you want to calm your mind and relax?
Thinking about what you want to achieve will help you set up your space, your daily routine and choose the right teacher for you. Making these conscious choices will help to keep you inspired and motivated. Before reading on, take a moment to pause and think about this, visualising your ideal Yoga class, what it feels like, how it looks and the environment you are in. If you have a goal, maybe write it down and return to it whenever you need to feel inspired.
SETTING YOUR SPACE FOR YOGA
Okay, so now that you know what you want from your home practice, you can begin to align your space using those foundations. Remember to keep directing back to your why as you make additions to your space. If Yoga is just about fitness for you, then a minimalist, clutter free space will keep you focused and energetic. For those Yogi’s who want a grounding, traditional Yoga space, you might like to add candles, mala beads or have books on Yoga philosophy nearby to draw inspiration from.
Here are some things you might already have, or want to add to your space:
- Yoga Mat: A good Yoga mat is as close to essential as possible, although you can just use a towel on the ground, it will be pretty uncomfortable! Cheap, PVC mats are not great for the environment and they tend to slide around a lot, which is why we created our ZONE sustainable cork Yoga mat, as an alternative that is supportive for Yoga and good for the earth.
- Cork blocks: Blocks help assist your balance, alignment and flexibility. They also provide a good seat for meditation and base for learning handstands.
- Yoga Strap: Handy to have by your mat if you have tight shoulders or hamstrings. If you don’t have a strap you can also use a belt or exercise band (even a pair of leggings!)
- Essential oils: So much of the experience of Yoga comes from the atmosphere and mood of a space. Essential oils can help to uplift and energise a power flow, or a calming blend can relax the senses and soften the mind.
- Blanket: Handy to have for a cosy savasana or to fold up and add a boost to seated or restorative practices.
- Eye pillow: Perfect for savasana, meditation or Yoga Nidra. So dreamy.
- Sage: If you want to cleanse your space, to create a new energy flow then burning sage or palo santo can be a grounding ritual before you practice.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU NEED FOR YOGA?
Be realistic about how much time you have to dedicate to your Yoga practice each day to help you fit it into your routine. It is also helpful to ask yourself if it is more beneficial to practice yoga in the morning or the evening, depending on what your personal preference and schedule is ie, before work or when the kids are in bed.
Choosing the right time of day will often dictate how likely you are to be consistent with your practice. Maybe you have great intentions and set your alarm for an hour of Yoga at 5.30am, but if you’re not a morning person then it’s likely that eventually you’ll start hitting the snooze button! So if this sounds like you, perhaps you can start later and do 30 minutes instead, or opt for a lunchtime session. The beauty of online yoga is that it fits around your schedule, so you can easily get into a routine.
Be patient as you play with the times that suit you, there is no right or wrong and everybody has a different rhythm and routine. Check-in regularly with your energy levels, and also to your purpose. If you love Yin and want to feel grounded, but it makes you too sluggish in the morning then mix it up for a night time practice, and vice versa, if power vinyasa at night feels like a struggle (or you can’t sleep properly afterwards) then try switching it up. Also, a reminder that most Yoga isn’t recommended within 2 hours after having a meal, especially if you’re going upside down or pressing on the belly, it can be a bit uncomfortable so try to time your practice so you don’t have a full tummy!
HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOGA
Preparation before Yoga is as essential as cooking your meal before you eat. Once you’ve set your space and created the time, then check in with your body. Tune in and think about any injuries or conditions that might interfere with your class. Because the teacher isn’t there to adjust your alignment, it’s even more important to be considerate of modifications you might need to take. If you aren’t sure then always consult a physio or doctor before practicing. Pre class preparation might also include stretching or using a trigger point therapy ball to roll out any stiffness before you flow. By using a massage ball on the soles of the feet you release the fascia that runs all along the backs of the legs, back and neck so you will feel more flexible and warmed up for the class.
With so many enticing online offerings, it is essential to choose the right level and style for your purpose. Generally online Yoga classes will fall into three categories: beginners, open and advanced (they might be named differently so if in doubt then read the descriptions written by the teachers).
As a guideline, beginners is usually less than 6 months of Yoga training, or less than 20 classes. Open can be 6 months or more, but varies depending on how comfortable you are with the practice and advanced is for yogi’s with many years of experience on the mat.
CHOOSING AN ONLINE YOGA TEACHER
Finding the right teacher for you also comes back to your WHY. Think about what you love about Yoga and let that guide you when considering which class to try. Each teacher may have a different focus.
- Asana is the physical practice of Yoga and you will find an abundance of these classes online. For a stronger practice look for Vinyasa, Power and Ashtanga. More supportive practices are Restorative, Yin and Iyengar.
- Pranayama is breathwork or breathing techniques. Many teachers will incorporate some pranayama into their asana classes, or you can search for a teacher that specialises in this powerful practice.
- Meditation classes can be found online or using one of many meditation apps that you can drop into any time you need.
- Dharma and Philosophy classes are for those who want to learn more about the history and purpose of Yoga. There are many teachers who will touch on philosophy during asana practice but if you love this aspect of Yoga then you can also search for guided talks or live Q&As with respected teachers.
OUR ZONE ONLINE YOGA OFFERING
We hope that we have provided enough of a guide for you to feel confident about online yoga. We are so excited to share our online platform with you and for you to breathe, flow and Find Your ZONE with our dedicated and experienced ZONE Yoga teachers.