During lockdown, I’ve been asked by my students which are the best Yoga poses to practice at home? Many people do not have Yoga equipment and feel this holds them back, but this is not necessarily the case. All sorts of simple Yoga poses can be safely practiced at home without any equipment at all. And if we feel we do need some extra help, all sorts of objects around the home can be put to good use.
Even a good thick book can be used instead of a Yoga block. There are certain items of furniture that can be used, like chairs and even tables. One of the most useful things to use is a wall- it can help to prop us up. This is why items used to support our bodies in Yoga are called ‘props’.
We may not know if we are really straight in a pose- but a wall will let us know. In Yoga classes, this is often called ‘alignment’. I’m a big fan of improvising with what we have around us. It means even if we are stuck somewhere during a lockdown, or on holiday, we can see what we have around us and make good use of it.
More experienced students may have a daily practice that they vary slightly over a month. It’s recommended that, for physical and mental balance, we vary our practice to ensure that over a month we cover some standing poses, seated poses, forward bends, backbends, twisting poses, restorative poses, inversions and breathing techniques. For those with less experience, just having three or four Yoga poses to practice at home can be a great start.
I usually work with one student at a time, be it face to face, or online. Without seeing a student in person, I would recommend that these initial poses include the following: a simple upright twist (such as Parsva Swastikasana), a kneeling pose (such as Virasana), a standing pose using a wall (such as Parsvottanasana), a gentle inversion (such as Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) and a restorative pose such as Supta Baddha Konasana.
Once you feel confident with those poses, using the props you find around you, at home, can help you achieve slightly harder poses. If you can arrange two surfaces of the same height, you can try warrior 3, Virabhadrasana III, as shown in the photo.
I’m using my kitchen worktops, one for the wrists, one for the toes.
You could use two tables, or a window ledge and a table. As long as you have support at each end, why not give this pose a go?
Once you start, you may be amazed at how you can improvise with household objects- tightly rolled towels can be used instead of a bolster for all sorts of restorative poses.