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Yoga is a proven way to keep the body fit and the mind calm, so integrating the practice into daily life is a great way to reap these benefits. Qualified personal trainer Bernard McGowan believes that with some thought, it is possible for many people to practice yoga in the comfort of their own home.

Prepare in Advance

As with any physical activity, preparation is key for yoga. Before getting started for the first time, make sure to research the different styles of yoga and how to practice the best postures. After researching yoga, invest in comfy clothing and a non-slip yoga mat. It is recommended to practice yoga in the morning, or to wait a few hours after breakfast or lunch.

Choose a Suitable Space

The first step to practicing yoga at home is to identify a suitable space. Ideally, those who practice yoga would love to dedicate a room to the exercise. However, this is not practical for many people. Whilst yoga can be practiced just about anywhere, try to roll out the mat in spaces that are peaceful, and where there is a reasonable amount of surrounding space available. Trying to practice near an empty stretch of wall can help too, as walls are great props.

Choose spaces that are well lit and ventilated. If spaces are a little dingy, consider using candles to brighten the space. Always try to practice away from sharp objects or furniture that could cause injuries.

Always Warm Up

As with any form of exercise, warming up before practicing yoga is critical. Warming up prepares the body for the exercise and helps protect the muscles from injuries. A suitable warm up should be between 5 and 15 minutes, or until the skin is slightly warm to the touch and the heart rate is starting to elevate.

The exact length of warm up needed will depend on multiple factors. To start, how active an individual has been during the day will have an impact. For example, if the day has been spent at a desk, the muscles are more likely to be stiff, so a longer warm up might be necessary.

The intensity of the planned yoga practice should also influence the warmup – if someone jumped straight into intense poses with cold muscles, such as Malasana, they are risking injury.