As you know by now, we here at White Terry Home are huge advocates of the power of a good night’s rest. And most scientists would agree with us too. Study after study shows that the best gift you can give your body and your health is a full night of restful sleep. A full night of sleep (in a super comfortable bed, of course) replenishes your body, and repairs your physical and mental state to better prepare you for the day ahead.
But wellness doesn’t just stop with sleep. There are a ton of other physical and mental exercises and practices that can help you live a more well-rounded, healthy life.
And one of the most widely practised, studied, and impactful exercises?
Why Choose Yoga
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and for good reason: It’s one of the few exercises that focuses on both physical and mental wellbeing.
While there are many different types and practices, the purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness, and harmony throughout the body and mind. This is accomplished through a series of breathing exercises, meditation, and postures that stretch and flex various muscle groups.
Those that practice yoga regularly find themselves with a host of benefits, including increased flexibility, improved muscle strength and tone, improved breathing, more energy, weight reduction, cardio health, better focus, more mental clarity, and much more.
As you can see, anyone looking to kickstart their wellness should look no further than the benefits of yoga.
What You’ll Need
One of the best parts of yoga is that really all you need to get started is you. At its core, it’s simply a matter of getting your body and your energy into motion. That’s why it is the perfect exercise to do at home…it takes minimal time and effort to build out your own personal yoga “studio”. No bulky or expensive equipment required!
That said, there a still a few basics you’ll want to procure if you plan to get serious (and want to be comfortable) practicing yoga at home:
While it is possible to do yoga without a mat, it’s much less comfortable. A good yoga mat provides a stable, comfortable padded surface for all your movements, making it much easier to hold those poses for longer. Plus, for those that find themselves sweating during their sessions, a yoga mat is super easy to wipe down each day, keeping things clean and odor-free.
While not required, yoga blocks are helpful in bringing the floor closer to you, making some of those more difficult poses a little easier. This is especially helpful for beginners or those with limited mobility.
Yoga straps are used during long stretches to help elongate your body, and ensure you are using your maximum range of mobility. Again, not required, but can be helpful in certain circumstances.
As anyone can tell at the coffeeshop on Saturday mornings, yoga clothes are very much in fashion right now. And while yes, a comfortable set of super flexible pants and top can make your yoga sessions more enjoyable, they too are not a prerequisite for getting in a great workout. Just find something that makes you feel comfortable!
Creating the Perfect Yoga Space
With your equipment ready to go, it’s time to set up your personal yoga space at home. Yoga is as much about your surroundings and state of mind as it is about the movements, so it's important that you find just the right space to practice in your home.
First things first…space. You’ll of course need enough open floor space for your mat. But aim to find more if you can so it doesn’t feel cramped. Living room floors work great for this! And don’t worry if that means you have to move your coffee table out of the way each time you want to do a session…these minor inconveniences will be nothing compared to the lasting physical and mental benefits of yoga.
The next consideration is lighting. Unlike most exercises taking place in a gym flooded with florescent light, yoga is best done under a softer glow. Again, you really want to take the mental benefits into consideration. Would you want to meditate in the middle of a brightly lit room? Probably not. Yoga is no different. Just as you want enough space to by physically comfortable, you’ll want just the right light to be mentally comfortable.
Finally, you’ll want to consider time. While not part of your physical space, time plays a very important role in setting up a home yoga studio. Specifically, it’s about finding a time when you can exercise uninterrupted. Nothing will take away from your yoga experience more than the dog barking, the kids running by, or your partner making lots of noise in the kitchen. Find a time where yoga can be all your own. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or late in the evening when everyone has settled in for the night, this block of time should be free and clear of any distractions in order for you to get the most out of your experience.
Get a Helping Hand from Technology
While a large part of the appeal of yoga is removing yourself from the distractions of the modern digital world, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let technology lend a hand when appropriate. Yoga has been a major part of the recent boom in health and wellness apps and digital services, meaning that if you’re looking for some assistance, there is most certainly an app for you.
From tracking sessions to fully guided digital yoga classes, there are plenty of choices when it comes to yoga technology. Here are some of our favourites:
Glo is a highly rated app that offers over 3,700 classes in yoga, Pilates and meditation. It can be tailored to your preferences and skill level, and is very easy and intuitive to use. A full membership costs $18/month USD.
A great option for beginners, this app offers a pose dictionary that gives you instruction on each and every pose so that you can be sure you’re getting it right. And with a series of classes ranging from a few minutes to a full hour, you’ll be able to pick the one that’s perfect for you. The app is a one-time fee of $2.99 USD.
5 Minute Yoga
Another great option for beginners, this free app offers a variety of yoga flows that are easy to follow, and take no more than 5 minutes. The clear pictures and instructions mean that even first time yogis can get the feel for the exercises in just a matter of minutes.
Like anything else, yoga works best when you just get started. So, don’t overthink the process! Grab the minimal equipment you need, find the perfect space and time, and download an app if you like…but then just get moving! You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll feel the difference. Not only will your body thank you, your mind will as well. And paired with a restful night’s sleep, your in-home yoga practice will have you feeling better than you have in your entire life.
You’ve only got one body, so be sure you take care of it.