“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” -Swami Sivananda

You want to practice yoga but cannot find time to dedicate a fixed schedule for the group practice? Do not have a  personal trainer or yoga studio in the area? or have any other personal reason that’s stopping your from practicing yoga?

Well, whatever the reason may be, you can start practicing yoga at home.

I received a query from a friend asking me how can she practice yoga at home, where to start from, there are so many different kind of practices and so many poses that are overwhelming for the beginners.

This inspired me to write this blog post to help everyone who is thinking of starting yoga practice at home. I am simply putting down the format that I use in my Group and Personal classes including only basic yoga asanas or poses here.

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So, lets start 🙌

The practice is basically divided into the following format:-

  • Grounding
  • Warm up
  • Surya Namaskar / Sun Salutation
  • Asana / Pose Practice
  • Restoration
  • Closing

Approx time: 45- 50 minutes

1 – Grounding helps us in bringing our awareness to the present, it helps us in connecting us to our self, calms your mind and helps you prepare for the practice. One of the main factors in yoga is to be mindful of what you are doing, your breath, your movements, everything should be done mindfully and that happens when you are focused on the present.

How to ground yourself? (Approx 5 minutes)

These steps may seem a lot in reading however, when you actually do them, would approx take 5 minutes or so. Don’t worry if you miss something, there’s always a next session.

  • Sit in a comfortable position (crossed legs or sitting on the knees) with your back straight
  • You can keep your hands in whatever mudra (posture) is most comfortable for you. (see the image below for reference)

Grounding Mudra - Yoga with Ankush.jpg

  • Close your eyes.
  • Relax your mind and your body.
  • Start to de-clutter your mind of any thoughts or distractions by bringing your awareness to your present.
  • Your present, which is your breath, start observing it, observe your inhalation and exhalation.
  • Your mind may start to wonder, which is fine, just engage your mind, ask it to focus on your breath, keep reminding it to focus on the breath.
  • Ignore everything around, ignore the thoughts and keep focusing on your breath.
  • Every breath when taken mindfully would help you relax your mind.
  • When your mind starts to walk away from distractions you would start feeling a sense of lightness and calmness in your mind, just stay there, if you get distracted come back, it is perfectly fine to get distracted, just keep coming back.
  • Use this moment to connect with yourself, let all the thoughts fade away leaving you with yourself.
  • In the last few minutes think about your health goals and prepare your mind for the practice, release any disbelief or doubts.
  • Join your palms, take 2-3 long inhalations and exhalations and on every next exhalation chant ‘Om’ 1-3 times, chant to relax your mind, feel the vibrations of the chant in your mind. Do it mindfully.
  • Keep your eyes closed and rub your palms to generate heat and cup your eyes with your palms lightly and spread the energy around your body.
  • Join your hands, open your palms and blink your eyes to open looking into the palms with a smile. (Refer to the video below)

2- Warm up helps you get your body ready for the practice, it increases the temperature of the muscles, increases the circulation of blood, loosens the joints which helps in preventing injury. Warm up movements may seem quite easy and you may think of ignoring them however do not. WARM UP IS IMPORTANT!

Here’s a video with some warm up movements you can use for your practice (5-8 minutes)

3- Surya Namaskar / Sun Salutation is a basic yoga practice which stimulates your whole body, it includes 12 poses or asanas that helps warm up your body even further and also helps to tone your body. Surya Namaskar is recommended in the morning however you can do it anytime when you are practicing yoga.

It is important to align each movement with the breath in Surya Namaskar to do it correctly and reap its benefits.

Refer to the video below for Surya Namaskar poses and sequence (3-5 rounds)

4- Asana / Pose Practice helps in increasing endurance and flexibility, the various movements in the asana practice opens up your body and stimulates every part of your body, different asanas have different benefits physically and physiologically.

It is important to do the asana practice mindfully and with proper breathing. Do not push your limits too much during the practice, listen to your body and let it adapt to the pose with time. Perseverance is the key to do any asana and attain proper alignments.

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Important: Yoga is about uniting your mind with your body and the key to this union is your breath, when you align your breath with your movements it would help you get the maximum benefit of the posture.

Please keep in mind that it is perfectly fine to not go deep into the posture until your body is ready to do so, this takes time and practice and that is why it is important to listen to your body, respect it’s limitation and slowly work on them. Do not try to compete with your counterparts or anyone else ?, that is not the goal. The goal is to live a healthy and stress free life.

Below are few asanas that you can include in your daily practice, as you start to progress, you can scale up or include other asanas in your practice.

An important factor to keep in mind is to do counter poses as well to bring your body back in its natural state and keep it happy and healthy. What this means is, if you are doing a lot of forward bending poses, do some backward bending poses too.

Below are few yoga asanas / poses that you can start with

A. Virabhadrasana 2 or Warrior 2 – Good for stretching your shoulders, hips and groins. Develops the sense of balance and stimulates your abdominal organs.

Virabhadrasana 2 or warrior pose - Yoga with Ankush

How to do Virabhadrasana 2 or Warrior 2

  1. Stand with both the feet 4-5 feet apart,
  2. Inhale extend your hands to your shoulder level
  3. Point your right foot towards the front and left foot 45 degrees inwards. Keep both the feet firm on the ground.
  4. Exhale bend your right knee, keep your shin straight to avoid stress on your knee.
  5. Look towards the right hand side.
  6. If you are comfortable, keep your right thigh parallel to the floor however if it seems very challenging, give your body some time and practice to adapt.
  7. Hold for 5- 8 breaths
  8. Repeat on the other side.

B. Virabhadrasana 1 or Warrior 1 – strengthens your shoulders, arms, back, legs and ankles. Improves balance and focus.

Virabhadrasana 1 or Warrior Pose 1 - Yoga with Ankush

How to do Virabhadrasana 1 or Warrior 1

  1. Stand with both the feet 4-5 feet apart,
  2. Inhale extend your hands to your shoulder level
  3. Point your right foot towards the front and left foot 45 degrees inwards. Keep both the feet firm on the ground.
  4. Exhale bend your right knee, keep your shin straight to avoid stress on your knee.
  5. With exhalation twist towards the right hand side.
  6. Inhale, raise both the hands, join your palms and look at the thumbs.
  7. If you are comfortable, keep your right thigh parallel to the floor however if it seems very challenging, give your body some time and practice to adapt.
  8. Hold for 5- 8 breaths.
  9. Exhale to lower the hands and twist back slowly to come out of the pose.
  10. Repeat on the other side.

C. Vriksasana or Tree Pose – builds strength in legs, ankles and calves. Improves balance and focus. Good for people suffering from sciatica.

Vriksasana or Tree Pose - Yoga with Ankush

How to do Vriksasana or Tree Pose

  1. Stand straight and slowly shift your weight to the left leg.
  2. Lock your left knee and engage your thigh.
  3. Imagine as if you have roots on your left foot that are holding you firmly.
  4. With the help of your hand, lift your right leg and place the right foot on the inner thigh of the left leg. You can also place it on the lower leg. Do not keep it on the joint.
  5. Maintain your balance and keep your hands on your waist.
  6. If you feel balanced and comfortable, raise both the hands up with inhalation and join the palms.
  7. Focus on a point in front of you to help you concentrate and balance.
  8. Hold for 5-8 breath.
  9. Exhale and slowly lower hands and leg.
  10. Repeat on the other side.

D. Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Dog Pose – strengthens your arms, legs and shoulders. Calms your mind and helps relieve mild depression.

Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Dog Pose - Yoga with Ankush

How to do Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Dog Pose

  1. Stand straight
  2. Inhale raise your hands up and bend backwards gently and with exhalation start bending forward.
  3. Place your palms on the ground, spread your fingers to help you get more stability, it’s okay to bend the knees slightly.
  4. Take your legs back to form an opposite ‘V’, not too far not too close.
  5. Press your heels to the ground, it’s okay to bend the knees slightly.
  6. Keep your hands and back straight.
  7. Rotate your arms out.
  8. Push your hips up
  9. Look at your thighs or knees.
  10. Draw your chest towards the thighs.
  11. Hold for 8-10 breaths.
  12. Exhale keep your knees on the floor and relax in child’s pose.

E. Kumbhakasana – Plank Pose – tones core muscles, strengthens arms, wrists and shoulders. Helps in burning fat around the abdomen area.

Kumbhakasana - Plank Pose - Yoga with Ankush

How to do Kumbhakasana – Plank Pose

  1. Come to kneeling position
  2. Bend forward and place your hands on the floor.
  3. Slide both the feet back, straighten your legs while lifting your knees above the ground. Balance your body weight on your palms and toes.
  4. Your hands should be right below your shoulders, not too wide or not to narrow.
  5. Keep your head, back, hips and legs in one straight line. Do not arch your back.
  6. Take slow inhalation and exhalation.
  7. Hold for 8-10 breaths or as long as you can.
  8. Exhale land slowly on the knees and relax in child’s pose or simply sit on the heels.

F. Marjariasana or Cat and Cow Pose – a very relaxing pose for relaxing the spine and making it flexible. Helpful in backaches and improving posture. Massages abdominal organs and hence improves digestion.

Marjariasana - Cat and Cow Pose - Yoga with Ankush

How to Marjariasana or Cat and Cow Pose

  1. Come to table top position. Knees on the mat, knees hip width apart, palms right below the shoulders.
  2. Take a long inhalation and arch your back aligning it with the inhalation.
  3. Exhale slowly and hunch your back.
  4. Do not move your knees, hips or arms, only focus on moving your spine.
  5. Repeat for 8-10 breaths.
  6. Exhale and relax in child’s pose.

G. Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose – Relieves backache, keeps spine healthy, beneficial for abdominal organs like liver and kidneys. Helps in menstrual and gynecological disorders. Eases constipation, good for stimulating the appetite. Opens of your chest as well as heart and is helpful for people suffering from depression

Bhujangasana - Yoga with Ankush

How to do Bhujangasana or Cobra pose

  1. Lie down flat on your stomach with your head on the floor, legs straight and feet together.
  2. Keep your palms on the floor under your shoulders and your elbows close to the body.
  3. Relax your body and lower back.
  4. With inhalation slowly raise your head and start lifting your chest up, keeping your chest open, use your back muscles for the lift and put less pressure on the hands.
  5. Keep your pubic bone in contact with the floor, the naval can be raised a little bit.
  6. You can keep your elbows a little bent and once you reach a comfortable height, look diagonally.
  7. Stay for 5-8 breaths
  8. To return, exhale and slowly bend the arms, lower the naval, chest, shoulders and forehead to the ground.
  9. Relax!

H. Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Bend – this asana stretches your hamstrings, spine and shoulders. Calms your mind and helps relieve mild depression. Good for digestion, stimulates digestive organs and eases menstrual discomfort.

Paschimottanasana - Seated Forward Bend - Yoga with Ankush

How to do Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Bend

  1. Sit with your legs stretched in front of you. Keep your back straight.
  2. Inhale raise your hands up.
  3. Exhale, move your belly towards your knees and start bending forward while lengthening your spine and keeping it straight.
  4. Move your chin towards your toes and reach as far as you can comfortably. Hold your toes or keep your hands on your shin and slowly place your forehead on your legs.
  5. Hold for 8-10 breaths. Let every breath help your body to adapt to the pose.
  6. Inhale and start raising your hands up, straighten your spine and exhale to lower your hand.

I. Balasana or Child’s Pose – lengthens, stretches and relaxes the spine and whole body. Massages the internal organs and abdominal muscles. Improves digestion as well.

Balasana or Childs Pose - Yoga with Ankush

How to do Balasana or Child’s Pose

  1. Sit on your heels.
  2. Keep your knees together or apart.
  3. Slowly start bending forward with exhalation and place your head on the ground or mat.
  4. Stretch your hands in front of you or you can keep them alongside your body with palms facing up.
  5. In case you are not able to keep your head on the mat, widen your knees.
  6. Press your chest to the floor.
  7. Inhale and exhale mindfully while relaxing your whole body.
  8. Inhale and slowly sit back on your heels.
  9. Go to next pose or whatever you were doing in your life 🤷‍♂️
  10. You can take this pose anytime you want that nurtured and relaxed feeling.

J. Sethubandasana or Bridge Pose – excellent pose for lower back pain. Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression. Reduces insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, headache and backache. Good for digestion. Stimulates thyroid and abdominal organs.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Yoga with Ankush

How to do Sethubandasana or Bridge Pose

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Fold your knees, bring your heels close to your hips.
  3. Keep your feet hip width apart.
  4. Place your hands besides your waist, palms facing down.
  5. With inhalation lift your hips, lower back, mid back and upper back.
  6. You can place your hands behind your back to lift or support your back or you can also lock your hands behind your back.
  7. Hold for 8-10 breaths.
  8. Exhale and slowly lower your hips and back.
  9. Relax!
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5 – Restoration helps to cool the body down and relax after your Yoga practice. All the asanas bring a lot of changes in your body and its energies and to assimilate these changes the mind and the body needs time to relax or you may feel irritated.

How to restore? (Approx 6 -10 minutes)

  • After you finish your asana practice, lie down on your back for Savasana or Corpse Pose.
  • Stretch your feet mat width apart.
  • Keep your arms slightly away from the body to let your armpits breathe.
  • Keep your palms facing up to help you cool down.
  • Let your body lose, close your eyes.
  • Observe your breath and the effect of your asana practice on your body.
  • Relax your whole body with every breath.
  • You can relax for anywhere between 6-10 mins.

Savasana or The Corpse Pose - Yoga with Ankush

Coming out of the Savasana

  • Once relaxed completely, bring your awareness back to your body.
  • Keep your eyes closed.
  • Move your toes and fingers.
  • Bring your feet together and take your hands back towards your head to give yourself a nice long stretch.
  • With the help of your hands roll over to your right hand side (left is fine too) and relax for few breaths.
  • When you are ready, keeping your eyes closed, come to a comfortable seating position and proceed to closing steps mentioned below.

6 – Closing is an important part of the Yoga practice after the relaxation or restoration part. It completes your yoga practice and helps you take out a moment of appreciation for your practice.

  • As you are sitting in a comfortable sitting position after the savasana, take your awareness to your breath.
  • Observe the calmness in your mind and in your body.
  • Take your awareness to everything you are grateful for, think about all the good things, all the good people and thank the Universe for giving you everything you have in your life.
  • Join your palms, take 2-3 long inhalations and exhalations and on every next exhalation chant ‘Om’ 1-3 times, chant to relax your mind, feel the vibrations of the chant in your mind. Do it mindfully.
  • Keep your eyes closed and rub your palms to generate heat and cup your eyes with your palms lightly and spread the energy around your body.
  • Join your hands, open your palms and blink your eyes to open looking into the palms with a smile. (Refer to the Grounding video)

Thank you so much for reading. If you have any questions or feedback, please mention in the comments section below.

Namaste!

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