One of the silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic has been an abundance of advances in telecommunication. And with stay-at-home orders still in place in many parts of the country, gyms and other places to work out have been closed (and may remain closed for quite a while). As a result, the online offerings of guided meditation and yoga classes have become much more prevalent—and easier to do at home than ever, even for beginners.
So, if you’ve been suffering from stress or anxiety caused by one of a million things offered up by 2020 (and/or are prone to seasonal affective disorder), yoga could prove to be a great addition to your WFH weekly routine in the New Year.
The mind and body fuel each other, and yoga is good for both. The relaxing aspects of yoga help the mind relax, ultimately increasing focus and decreasing stress. And decreased stress on the mind means less stress on the body. In addition, yoga helps muscles stay stretched and can even ease arthritis symptoms.
Depending on your take on the seclusion aspect of quarantining, the solitude that one feels with yoga at home can be very welcomed. However, some people miss group activities, and online yoga classes can allow for camaraderie as well as peace of mind and exercise. Many classes can be completed in 20 or 30 minutes, and if you have good time management skills, practicing yoga during a work break can be extra-beneficial, giving you a quick mental break, reset, and physical outlet.
How to start
Before you even worry about where and how you’ll get guidance for your practice, you need to make sure to have the right equipment. Luckily, yoga doesn’t require much. Make sure you have plenty of space, a nice mat (not even a necessity if you have a carpet), and a few props to help you with certain poses (available online at most sporting goods stores).
Next, add it to your weekly schedule. For daily yogis, you can achieve your goals in as little as 10 minutes a day—and, as mentioned, in the middle of the work day is even more beneficial. Don’t overdo it, though, as the point is to relax, not to stress yourself. So, only set aside whatever amount of time you can without adding to your stress.
Which type of yoga is best for you?
With time, a plan, and room to practice, you’re ready to find a class that best suits you. There are many different types of yoga, and some are quite physically demanding. It’s best to start with a guide that teaches simple poses and helps with ways to focus the mind.
If you’re brand new to yoga, it’s important to try a few different styles, as they differ quite a bit (think: baseball and football are both sports with balls, but aren’t really that similar otherwise). Here are a few popular options, but many exist beyond these.
Yoga download gets a lot of praise for being well worth the $8/month that grants users access to an enormous catalog of recorded yoga instruction, as well as an unlimited number of classes you can join that are streaming at various times. It’s recommended for all levels of yogis, including beginners.
Yogi Approved is a similar service that allows yogis of all ages and styles to find something they like. If you don’t know what you like, they also have a cool quiz to help guide you to the right class.
If you’re seasoned in yoga but not so much in the online part, Gaia is definitely a good site to check out, as it focuses more on challenging classes.
Sticking to it
First and foremost, make sure yoga continues to be enjoyable. As mentioned, there are plenty of class options, so don’t get discouraged if your first choice is less than enjoyable. You can also try practicing with friends if you don’t particularly like doing it alone, and vice versa if you started with a group but aren’t liking the interactions.
Another important aspect of sticking to yoga is ensuring that it’s working. Although yoga can be strenuous like any physical activity, you shouldn’t feel sharp pain or pinching during or after your practice. If you do, you should focus on fixing your ailment, as yoga is meant to soothe, not hurt.
A final note
Given the advances in technology, the proliferation of online classes of all kinds, and the rise of remote work, there has never been an easier time to start practicing yoga from home. And if you can start a regular practice now, the effects you'll see to your mind and body will likely keep your practice going long after the pandemic is gone.
Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries, including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children. When she's not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.
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