Starting your fitness journey can be as simple as practicing yoga at home. Chances are that you’ve probably been inspired at some point in your life to lean into a new healthy habit.
Maybe you decided that eating healthier desserts instead of ice cream every night would make your body feel better.
And maybe you saw your best friend getting more fresh air throughout the day and got the sense that they were happier for it — and decided that you should get outside more, too.
Or maybe you’re thinking that doing more at-home yoga workouts might have the power to change your life in some meaningful ways!
We’re here to give a big ‘ol retweet to that last one. Prioritizing your online yoga workouts at home is a fantastic habit to get into — no matter how much prior yoga experience you have. There are plenty of benefits to reap, even if you’re a total yoga beginner.
Regardless of your enthusiasm or yoga background, though, integrating any new habit into your life can be a challenge. So we’ve put together some of our best tips to help you make at-home yoga a consistent part of your routine.
First, let’s talk about habits
As creatures of habits, we can focus on good habits that are beneficial for our bodies and minds… like regularly taking online yoga classes! Taking on a new, healthy habit can be a really satisfying project, even if it feels a little daunting at the start.
And there’s a science to forming habits! In order to understand how to successfully start a new habit, we think it’s helpful to know how it works.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, shall we? Getting new habits off the ground can be a challenge. Per HuffPost, people are most likely to bail on a new habit — online yoga workouts, earlier bedtimes, and the list goes on — because they don’t find that new habit any fun.
Maybe the fun has been lacking in other workouts you’ve tried. But guess what? An online yoga class — whether it’s a slow flow class or something a little more intense — could be exactly what you need to make exercise a good time.
See? We’ve already helped you get over a major barrier to working out. We love solving problems around here.
Tips for starting yoga at home for beginners
#1) Make sure you’re ready for change
Everyone is capable of change and we know you can accomplish anything you put your mind to, but it’s also important to be sure you’re fully committed to a new habit before you jump in with both feet. In fact, Harvard Health notes that one of the most common reasons that people don’t follow through with new habits is a lack of real commitment. When you start with a lack of commitment, there’s no way you can set yourself up with a strong foundation, which means you’re more likely to fail.
Harvard’s handy “Readiness to Change” scale is a great tool to help you ensure that you’re really ready to change before you start. Make this system work for you by rating your motivation to kick off a new habit — like doing more online yoga workouts — on a scale of one to ten. Next, rate those habits on the same scale based on how confident you feel about them.
The experts at Harvard recommend that you don’t actively start a new habit until you rate it at a six or higher on each of these scales.
#2) Get serious about scheduling
If you’re bringing your workouts home with online yoga classes, you might find yourself feeling tempted to keep things loose and unstructured. After all, if you can access a beginner yoga video in the comfort of your own family room or jog around the block, why plan ahead… right?
Wrong — at least according to bulldog online leader Tessa Jenkins. Tessa recommends scheduling workouts (even at-home ones!) by putting them in your calendar and setting reminders on your phone. There’s nothing like an annoying phone alert to keep you on track with your plans to try yoga for beginners!
“If you make a date with yourself, you are more likely to stick to class,” Tessa says. And it’s not just Tessa saying it! According to a 2019 study from the University of Oregon, people who make concrete plans to pursue their wellness goals are more likely to actually work out than people who don’t plan ahead. So make that date with yourself!
#3) Commit for 60 days
Psychologist James Clear notes that a person typically needs an average of 66 days to really establish a new habit. Basically, this means that you can’t quit after a few weeks of feeling frustrated.
Set yourself up for success by committing to your new habit for at least two months. Decide that you’ll check in with a loved one on a daily basis or do two online yoga workouts every week for that two-month period… no matter how much you want to give up along the way. You could also use a custom workout plan to help you stay on track during that time. The experts say you need those full two months to really figure out if a habit is for you, so fight it out and really give it a shot.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to commit to a bigger life change for a long period of time, consider breaking that change down into smaller habits that you can track on a daily basis. This will help you hit that key 60-day milestone!
#4) Think of it as an experiment
Okay, so 60 days might feel a little intimidating. We get it.
As an alternative, consider switching up your mindset. Start thinking about your new habit as an experiment, then take it a week or month at a time. Make careful notes about what’s working to keep you motivated and what isn’t. Resist the urge to judge yourself for not being perfect at a new habit!
After 30 days, check in with yourself and seriously consider if you want to commit to another month. Since you’ve spent the first month in experimental mode, you’ll be better able to tweak your approach so you can be more consistent and successful.
#5) Try a beginner class
If you’re a newbie to yoga, you might want to start by thinking about what you most want to gain from a yoga practice. This will make it easier for you to choose the beginner yoga class that is best-suited for you! And experts agree, if you’re new to yoga, start with an easy yoga class.
To get you prepped and ready for your first online yoga classes, our girl Tessa also offers some poses that are great to do every day in this PopSugar article. Spend some time reviewing those poses so you feel more comfortable once you start taking online classes.
Tessa also reminds you that bulldog online offers all kinds of beginner yoga videos to allow you to pick and choose from. If you simply want to establish a consistent workout routine, try shorter classes on the days when you’re tight on time. If you want to work up a sweat, take it up a notch with an Invigorate class.
#6) Consider the Three Rs
There’s nothing like alliteration to really help you remember something important, so a big shoutout to Harvard Health for doing us all a solid and breaking down the three parts of any habit, all of which conveniently start with the letter R. Let’s look at the Three Rs in terms of an online yoga workout!
Reminder: The trigger that should initiate the habit! In the case of online yoga workouts, the reminder might be your alarm clock waking you up in the morning to motivate you to hit the mat and take an online yoga class. It might be that tightness in your body that makes it very clear that you need to get moving. The reminder might be different for everyone, so think seriously about yours.
Routine: The behavior or action you take as a result of the reminder! In this case, the routine is, well, completing your online yoga workout.
Reward: The benefit you’ll get from the habit or action! There are plenty of benefits to establishing a regular yoga practice.
To fully embrace a new habit, it’s best to take a little time to think through what your own reminders, routines, and rewards might look like. It might also be helpful to consider what triggers your not-so-good habits. This will help you be more prepared to follow through on better habits so you can reap those awesome rewards.
#7) Swap out a bad habit
While we’re on the topic of bad habits, it’s worth noting the American Heart Association‘s reference to research about how it’s easier to replace a bad behavior with a good habit than it is to simply stop a bad habit cold turkey. Take a step back and think about parts of your daily routine or lifestyle that might not be serving you well. Anything you identify is really an opportunity for a new, better habit!
Is your love of TV at night starting to get out of control? Does it interfere with your sleep patterns and keep you from getting your body moving?
Try this: any time you feel tempted to channel surf, turn on an online yoga workout instead. This new behavior will interfere with the old habit and help your brain begin to rewire itself.
#8) Focus on the long-term effects
“Habits often form because they satisfy short-term impulses, the way chewing on your nails might immediately calm your nerves,” the American Heart Association notes. “But short-term desires often have long-term consequences, like nasty, splintered, chewed-up fingers. Focusing long term to change some habits will help you remember why you’re investing the effort.”
There you have it! Even habits that seem only to have short-term (maybe even frustrating) effects can make an impact down the road.
Next time you feel like giving up on a new habit because it’s inconvenient or throwing you off your game or you’re simply struggling to see why it matters in the grand scheme of things, hit the mental pause button.
Pretty much any healthy habit is bound to have meaningful, long-term effects. Online yoga workouts, for example, might improve your flexibility in the short-term, but they can also offer a long list of benefits to your physical and mental health for years to come. It’s worth pushing through the short-term frustration to cash in on those benefits.
#9) Set up everything you need
The last thing you need is to find yourself running all over your home grabbing equipment mid-way through class. An online yoga class will be a much better experience if you’re prepared from the get-go!
Before you cue up your class, be sure your mat, water bottle, and towel are within arm’s reach of your workout area. Knowing you have everything you need, you can get into your fitness flow more calmly and confidently.
If you want to add some props into the mix, check out this video! Props can make some poses easier for beginners — and you might have items around the house that will work in place of “official” yoga props.
#10) Minimize distractions
Tessa says that cutting down on potential distractions for an at-home workout is key. The number-one culprit for distracting yogis? It’s phones! (And they’re distracting even when we’re not using them, per this study from Social Psychology.)
Hide your devices before you get started with your next yoga video. We don’t want you to be tempted to scroll through Instagram or check your email when the going gets tough with your workout. Remember: all of those notifications will still be waiting for you when you’re finished with your sweat session.
#11) Check in with yourself
Instead of checking your phone (see what we did there?) while you hold poses for longer periods of time during yoga class, check in on your body! Most of us don’t spend a lot of time actually being aware of how our bodies are feeling at any given time. Taking that time is a very cool opportunity that comes with doing yoga.
Bulldog leader Sarah Woodward encourages you to ask yourself a few questions while you hang out in yoga poses for a few (long) seconds. Can I take the pose deeper? Do I need to take a step back?
Staying in tune with your body will ensure that you get the most out of each workout and that you’re making progress in your yoga journey.
#12) Invite friends
As grown-ups, it’s very rare that we come to something as total beginners… and that lack of knowledge or experience can be a little scary, right? No one wants to look or feel silly. Unfortunately, this keeps us from trying new things all too often.
One way to ease any nerves you might have about yoga is to get your favorite people involved! Since you can take a yoga class on Bulldog Online from anywhere, it’s no biggie to make learning about yoga a group activity — even if your loved ones live far away.
Inviting a friend or family member to try your next class with you is bound to give you an extra dose of confidence… and to make the experience even more fun.
#13: Cut yourself some slack
“Be easy on yourself!” Sarah says. “Your body might not feel the same today as it did yesterday. Embrace the wiggles and wobbles and just remember that you are getting stronger every time you step on your mat.”
Sarah’s words are a great reminder for anyone who ever spends time on a yoga mat… especially if you’re a yoga beginner! It’s easy to get impatient with yourself on the days when you’re feeling not-so-great about your practice, but don’t give up. You can always come back to it with another class tomorrow.
When in doubt? Remember that you have what it takes to finish any flow!
Test these tips with a free online class!