Can You Teach Yourself Yoga? A Guide for the Solo Practitioner

Be your best yoga instructor by teaching yourself yoga. Check out this guide for the solo practitioner to know more about courses, equipment, and tips.

A woman doing Bridge Pose on a striped yoga mat inside the living room beside a dark gray couch.

If you’ve been wondering if you can teach yourself yoga without committing to a particular teacher or studio, you’re in luck. We’re here to help you begin this beneficial practice the right way.

Did you know that a registered yoga teacher is required to obtain a 200-hour certification that takes an average of three to five months? A more advanced registered yoga teacher receives a 500-hour certification that requires six months to a year to complete.

Knowing this, you may wonder if starting yoga on your own is even possible. We are happy to tell you that it is, and most teachers began at home just like you. But you will still need guidance to do so safely and with the best possible results.

How You Can Learn Yoga

Starting this journey on your own does not mean your choices are limited. Here are three ways you can learn yoga at home:

Online Courses

A woman meditating in a sitting yoga pose with her eyes closed in front of a laptop during an online yoga course.

If you’re ready for class without the commute, online courses are a great way to get started. Your local studios and teachers may have Zoom options available, but here are a few digital platforms from The Best Online Yoga Classes, according to an obsessive yogi that you’ll love:

Amazon Prime 30 Days of Yoga to a New You

For far less than any drop-in rate at a studio, you can practice with instructor Jess Tisment in a course that caters to beginners. The 30-day timeline will help you get going with a specific plan.

Alo Moves

On this website, you’ll have a wide variety of classes to choose from with a steady stream of new content. The website gives you multiple skill levels and class durations to choose from, with seriously relaxing aesthetic appeal. You won’t ever get bored with Alo Moves, and you can try it free for 14 days.

Modo Yoga Online

This is an excellent option if you like the freedom to choose between a pre-recorded or live class. Modo Yoga Online also does a great job of incorporating the mind-body connection, so you are getting way more than just a workout. Like Alo Moves, you can enjoy a free 14-day trial of Modo Yoga Online to make sure it’s right for you.

Apps

A woman doing a yoga pose on a dark gray mat with her earphones on and looking at a yoga app on her smartphone.

Looking for a studio you can put in your pocket? Check out our favorites from the 10 Best Yoga Apps To Level-Up Your At-Home Practice.

Peloton Digital

Peloton is one of the biggest names in fitness right now. That means you’ll have many choices if you want to complement your yoga practice with anything else. 

Please make no mistake about Peleton’s commitment to yoga, though. They ensure each instructor respects yogic traditions and philosophies. They even offer meditation. New users can try this app for free for 30 days.

Glo

The flexibility Glo offers is not just limited to stretching. You can choose from a mobile or desktop version and sort your options by how much time you have.

Previously known as YogaGlo, this app has evolved to include more than 4,000 classes and offers a 7-day free trial. Even with so many choices already available, the app will customize a program just for you.

The longer you practice, the more unique your needs will become. Glo understands this and proves why it’s one of the Apple App Store’s most highly rated yoga apps.

Yoga for Beginners

This app lives up to its name. Yoga for Beginners describes itself as providing quick and simple yoga workouts, which is perfect for the new practitioner seeking easy-to-follow instructions.

Since its calming benefits are among the most appealing things about yoga, beginners will enjoy the gentle voice guidance on this app. Not only is it an amazing option to start your practice, but it’s also a completely free download.

YouTube

If you’re looking for a “try before you buy” experience, YouTube is the way to go. With exceptional channels and no fees, you can dive into the videos and decide to purchase the teacher’s paid content if and when you’re ready.

Source: Yoga with Adriene

Yoga with Adriene

If you Google “yoga on YouTube,” prepare to see an endless list of Adriene Mishler’s videos. The beloved teacher has earned her spot on the digital map with over 500 videos on everything from yoga for beginners, athletes, and back pain to her popular 30-day journeys.

Yoga with Tim

New practitioners looking for a full-body experience will love Tim Senesi’s channel. His weekly uploads will give you beginner-friendly classes as well as challenging ones, such as arm balances and inversions when you’re ready to advance.

Kino Yoga

Kino MacGregor is a world-renowned speaker, author, and Ashtanga Yoga teacher. Ashtanga is a progressive series of postures synchronized with the breath. As a beginner, you will want to explore different styles of yoga, and this one is perfect for familiarizing yourself with standard poses.

As one of the youngest people certified to teach Ashtanga Yoga by its founder K. Pattabhi Jois, Kino and her YouTube channel offer a top-notch introduction to this practice.

What Equipment You’ll Need

You might be tempted to press “play” on one of those YouTube videos and get straight into Downward Dog. Before you jump in, read through these must-haves for a wonderful practice:

Yoga Mat

A woman in black leggings unrolling a dark gray yoga mat on a wooden floor.

Before you grab anything else, grab a yoga mat. It can be tempting to see how far you can get without one, but the mat is central to the practice of yoga.

Besides offering you some much-needed padding and more stability than a towel, most yoga teachers’ cues revolve around the mat. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but you’ll find yourself lost without one.

Blocks

One block is great, but two blocks are better. While beginner-friendly, the yoga block is not about making you feel like you need extra help because you’re new. The most advanced practitioners use yoga blocks to enhance their practice by making all kinds of poses more accessible.

We recommend two blocks because some teachers will incorporate two during a class, and it’s best to be prepared. If you can’t get your hands on a yoga block, a sturdy book can work as a substitute. Just make sure you have a pair that’s the same size if your class calls for two.

Straps

You can swap this prop out more easily than the yoga mat and blocks. If you opt for a yoga prop kit of any kind, it will probably include at least one strap.

If you need an alternative, though, grab a towel, necktie, or scarf. It may give you extra laundry, but it will work.

Blankets/Bolsters

You might not think of blankets or bolsters as something you use for exercise, but yoga isn’t just any workout. These props offer extra support for your knees, hips, neck, or almost any other area of the body throughout your practice.

The extra cushion helps you relax deeper into your pose and prevent injuries due to overstraining. So, what might seem somewhat lazy to an inexperienced yogi are in fact well-used props that make your practice more consistent.

How to Set Up the Practice Area

Your surroundings can make or break your practice. Let’s explore the dos and don’ts for where you’re going to flow.

A woman doing Cobra Pose on a printed yoga mat indoors with a potted plant in the corner.

Once you get your hands on the right equipment, it’s time to set it all up in the ideal space. Your spot for yoga does not need to be large, but it should be at least somewhat private and with enough room to move.

Picture this: A cluttered playroom corner where your mat is crowded against a toybox won’t give you the best chance for a peaceful practice. If you’ve ever stepped on a Lego, you know where we’re going with this.

Opt for a clean area in front of a window or near an indoor plant to really up that Zen factor. 

Bonus tip: Being near a wall gives you an extra prop to lean on during some postures.

Tips for Improving Training

Yoga is about practice, not perfection. You will learn something new every time you step onto your mat. Here are some ways to develop as you go:

Establish a Routine

Like any other new pursuit, beginning a yoga practice will flow more smoothly if you take the time to schedule it.

This is the beauty of one of the 30-day challenges or a similarly structured course. Instead of approaching your new endeavor haphazardly, you’ll start every day with a plan.

Look Forward to Your Practice

One of the best parts of being a solo practitioner is having complete control over your experience. You get to create something beautiful that you can’t wait to do.

Burn incense or light candles with pleasing scents. Diffuse your favorite essential oils and adjust the lighting to the perfect setting. You can even experiment with taking your practice outdoors and enjoying nature. If you can teach yourself yoga, you can do it in a way you look forward to.

Embrace the Journey

One of the best things about yoga is that it is a space of non-judgment. So, you must be careful not to judge yourself.

You will fall out of poses. You will have days that you cannot bend as far as you did the day before. You will have moments of soreness and frustration.

But you will also have moments of exhilaration. You will discover and surpass limits you didn’t know you had. You will find your mind and body connecting in ways that they never have before.

The Best Teacher of All

A man doing Half Lotus Pose with his eyes closed, with his laptop to his right and water bottle to his left.

You wondered, “Can you teach yourself yoga?” 

Yoga teachers are wonderful guides. Whether you find them in a studio, on a YouTube video, or through an app, they will add much to your practice. Your instructor will help you find proper alignment and help you to evolve during every class.

But, it is your inner teacher that you must listen to most intently. No one knows your body as well as you. No one can slow the fluctuations of your mind as you can.

Use the resources and tools we’ve discussed to support you as you venture into the world of yoga. But never forget that you will always be your most capable teacher.

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