How to stay safe when practicing yoga at home
March 27, 2019
This week there was a news article about a woman who had a massive stroke while doing yoga on her porch.
Rebecca had been performing a complicated headstand when she tore a blood vessel in her neck, resulting in the stroke and the life-altering symptoms that she now lives with.
While Rebecca’s case is incredibly rare, it got us thinking – just how safe is it to practice yoga alone at home? Particularly if you’re not hugely experienced.
Part of the appeal of yoga is its accessibility. You just need some open space and a mat, you can essentially do it anywhere. And with the growth of apps and online tutorials, more people than ever are opting to teach themselves the moves and practice yoga from the comfort of their living room.
But is it risky to do yoga without the supervision of a qualified instructor? We spoke to one to find out.
Anna Clifford is a professional dancer and qualified yoga instructor teaching classes in a wide range of gyms and studios. Anna is confident that home yoga can be totally safe – as long as you take the right steps to prepare.
‘Practicing yoga at home is a new craze – it’s easily accessible and with all the online platforms that are now available, there’s virtually no excuse to not make time for your practice,’ Anna tells Metro.co.uk.
‘The great news is that it is so easy to do it at home, there are some fabulous YouTube channels that guide you through any kind of practice you are looking for.
‘It’s especially great for beginners who are nervous about trying an open class and practicing in front of other people, or just busy bodies who don’t have the time or the money to make it to class.
‘I would highly recommend practicing alongside a video with a qualified instructor that is guiding you through the postures.
‘Especially as a beginner, you don’t want to just look at a picture of a pose and go for it – there is essential prep involved to keep you warm and safe so that you don’t hurt yourself.
‘Following a class video will ensure that this preparation can be properly followed if you can’t actually have a teacher in the room guiding you.’
How to practice yoga at home safely
Anna has the following tips that she says you should keep in mind every time you roll out that yoga mat:
Always warm up. Every yoga class starts with breathing, stretching and smaller postures that articulate the spine, create space in the body and stretch the fascia to prepare you for your practice.
Start small. There is no point jumping into inversions or some of the more ‘Instagram-able’ poses. Especially if you don’t have trained eyes keeping you safe.
Nail the basics. Some of the simplest postures are the most difficult to do, and the easiest to do incorrectly. It’s important to get the essentials correct before progressing to a more challenging practice.
Simple poses to try at home
Start on all fours and make sure your knees are slightly behind your hips. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers out wide.
Press your hands into the mat and take a deep inhale, then keeping your hands pressed into the mat exhale deeply, lifting your knees off the floor and straightening your legs as much as you can.
Try lifting your hips higher on an inhale, and pressing your heels into the floor as you exhale.
From a low lunge, drop your back knee to the mat. Bring your hands onto your bent knee and keep that right knee directly over your ankle.
Inhale and raise your arms above your head, keeping the arms in line with your ears.
Exhale and deepen forward into the lunge. As you do that, your left hip comes closer to the floor.
Begin standing at the top of your mat. On an exhale, step your left foot back about three to four feet.
Place your left foot parallel to the short edge of your mat and line up the heel of your right foot with the heel of your left foot. Press down firmly through the little toe edge of your back foot.
On an inhale, extend your arms out alongside your body, raising them parallel to the floor with your palms facing down.
Bend deeply into your right knee, stacking it over your right ankle and bringing your right shin perpendicular to the floor.