August 28 2021 – Jade Hunter
The last 18 months 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 a lifesaver for many people practicing yoga, but it can be hit or miss when you are searching for the expansion, guidance and energy that you receive from a live class.
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 a list of our favourite teachers here in Australia. You don’t have to look externally to #LIVEBETTER, everything you need is already right here at your fingertips.
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.
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.
Be realistic about how much time you have to dedicate to Yoga, and also if it is more beneficial for you to practice in the morning or the evening.
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.
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!
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 guide you, 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.
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 FAVOURITE ONLINE YOGA OFFERINGS
There are SO many incredible offerings available for you to practice Yoga at home that it can be difficult to choose. To help, we have put together a list of our favourite Yoga teachers who have a combination of offerings (as we like to support local in all that we do here at ZONE, these teachers are all based in Australia).
They are a combination of free classes and scheduled timetables, so you’ll find something to suit your routine, level and budget.
It is Aimee’s experience that yoga is so much more than an individual pursuit to master poses. It's the catalyst for an upshift in our awareness as individuals, pouring back into the unified whole as a service to humanity. Aimee’s Yoga classes are imbued with her training in embryology and its influence on movement and her continuing study of Saiva Tantra.
Through instruction of clear technique, Ari’s dynamic Vinyasa classes use creative sequencing and breath to awaken the energetic map of the body, direct the flow of energy and discover balance.
Duncan is originally from Toronto, now living in Melbourne. He teaches alignment-based vinyasa inspired by Anusara, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Annie Carpenter's SmartFLOW Yoga. Duncan teaches in a direct and passionate manner which is balanced by his lighthearted and loving attitude. His classes are strong and have a heightened focus on alignment, smart creative flows, and creating space for deep release.
Uma Spender Yoga
Uma has been passionately sharing the path of Yoga for more than 15 years, bridging the Ancient with the Modern, and loves to take students on deep & immersive journeys of self enquiry & transformation. She offers several online pranayama courses, including a free mini course to unlock the power of your breath.
Growing up an avid surfer and snowboarder on the Victorian coast, it was for the rehabilitation of several knee reconstructions that Dale Sandwith (Dhali) first discovered Yoga and QiGong in 1997. Vidatha’s movements consist of over 20 years of knowledge of Hatha Yoga and Oriental therapies which comprise of techniques that transform the subtle essences of the body and develop its energy channels
Yoga Arts Academy
Duncan Ewing has been practicing Yoga since 1986 and has taught yoga to thousands of students from all over the world. His Lessons are designed to teach a sequence of poses with a particular method of linking breath and movement into one continuous flow. The fixed forms from the first nine grades of the Ghatastha Yoga Method are tailored to the specific requirements of each individual. The Ghatastha Yoga Method is a progressive system of yoga techniques designed to cultivate the student from raw beginner to advanced practitioner.
We hope that we have provided enough of a guide for you to feel confident about online yoga. There are so many options available so its best to practice with a few teachers until you find which teacher resonates with you the most. To set up your space and practice, make sure you check our cork yoga mats and props, as well as signature essential oils and sprays and practice in comfort with our hemp clothing.