How to Begin a Yoga Practice at Home

All you really have to do is to sit and be still… then, let your body tell you what to do next. Realize that your muscles have memory and will remember postures you have done in class if you get your mind out of the way.

1. Sit in a comfortable position - crossed legs, soles of the feet together, or any other position that works for you. You can also lie down. Take a few moments to quiet the mind, align the spine, and feel who you are and how you are, right now. Begin breathing three part breath - inhale: upper, middle, lower lungs, exhale: lower, middle, upper lungs - for a while, allowing the breath to lengthen and bring your attention inside.

2. Start with easy bending of the body: hanging forward, lateral (side) bending, chest expanders, and easy twists. Do your first stretches as passively as possible with fluid, deep breathing. After gently opening the body through these easy stretches, continue your practice with the suggested postures below.

3. Layer your movement and postures with breath: As you practice, let the breath move you in and out of the poses, synchronizing your breathing with the movement. Then as you hold the postures breathe into any place in the body that feels resistance or where you feel a stretch. With each exhalation you can release more deeply into the pose; allow each inhalation to infuse every cell with space and lightness.

Cat back & Dog back undulations
Puppy Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog
Pachimottanasana - Seated Forward Bend
Purvottanasana - Upward Facing Plank
Paripurna Navasana – Boat Pose
Uttanasana - Standing Forward Bend
Trikonasana - Triangle Pose
Virabhadrasana II - Warrior Pose (open hips)
Virabhadrasana I & III - Warrior Poses (closed hips)
Vrksasana - Tree Pose
Makarasana - Crocodile Pose
Bhujangasana - Cobra Pose
Balasana - Child's Pose
Ardha Matsyendrasana - Spinal Twist
Setu Bandhasana - Bridge Pose
Matsyasana - Fish Pose

4. Savasana - Corpse Pose: Always end your practice with at least 5 minutes of Savasana, allowing the body to assimilate the energy created by your practice. Lie on your back with the legs outstretched and just wider than the hips, arms rolling out from the sides of the body with the palms up in a receptive position. Let the whole body sink into relaxation, letting go of places that you may be holding.

Practicing on your own is important as you decipher each asana through your own experience. However, it is valuable to have an experienced teacher to correct your technique and bring you more deeply into familiar postures, and to introduce you to new and more advanced poses. Also there are many interesting books on yoga available which can help you explore this vast subject.

Good luck with your practice.


Copyright 2002 Betsy Ceva

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