How to Progress in Yoga with a Home Practise

Do you hop on the mat regularly, but feel like you’re in a rut?

Or maybe you’ve hit a plateau with your asanas?

If so, the real question is; how to progress in yoga if don’t have any hands-on corrections?

If this is you, you’re not alone!

I know how it feels because I was in the same situation for years.

But now that I’m progressing fast, it’s my job, my duty and my wish to help you to not repeat my mistakes.

Because we absolutely can progress from home.

We just need to know how.

And in this article I’m going to share some tips which have helped me to really see an increase in strength, flexibility, balance and confidence.

So without further ado, let’s get going.

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Yoga Home Practise

There are thousands of awesome yoga flows online, yet a noticeable absence of workshops.

And if you don’t regularly go to a yoga studio (I don’t either) then you (we) miss out on many of yoga’s intricacies.

And even if we flow along with Youtube daily, we’ll only catch a few of those mistakes which we’re getting into the habit of making.

Sure, we can pick up on some of them, but despite our very finest dedication, it seems almost impossible to self-teach ourselves without any input from another person.

And I get you.

And that’s why I wrote this article: to share how to really feel progress in your home yoga practice so that you can unleash your inner yogi.

So let’s get to it!

How to Progress in Yoga if You Practise at Home: Summary

  • Dedicate yourself to the journey, not the destination.
  • Build consistency in your practice; try to get on the mat every day.
  • Master the breath so that breathing becomes the foundation of your practice.
  • Check that your alignment is right for each pose.
  • Choose video flows where the instructor gives cues on alignment and what common mistakes to avoid.
  • Join an online course which actually breaks down the poses for you.
  • Even when not reminded by a teacher, remember to engage your body and muscles – yoga asanas aren’t passive, but active (unless it’s Yin yoga).
  • Focus your attention on the moment, not the destination.
  • Record your yoga practice on video, and watch it back to offer self-correction. Later you can also look back on your progress.
  • Work on specific poses and slowly progress to more challenging ones.
  • Know that if you’re not in alignment, you most probably won’t progress. (This has held me back from getting chaturanga dandasana and other asanas for literally years.)
  • Be patient with yourself and never give up.
  • Find the right online yoga teacher or yoga platform which resonates most with you – it’s essential for progress. See below for some suggestions.
  • Be playful and enjoy yourself!

Some Mistakes to Avoid on the Yoga Mat

When you’re learning yoga on your own, there are some common mistakes we all make at some point or another.

Here are a few of them for you to avoid. . .

  • Not engaging individual parts of the body.
  • Not being correctly aligned in the asanas.
  • Ignoring pranayama and not connecting to the breath.
  • Not focusing on improving and breaking down individual asanas.
  • Thinking that repetition is enough to get you to the next stage.

My Top 4 Tips for Progressing in Your Home Yoga Practice

#1 Dedicate Yourself to the Journey, Not the Destination

Yeah, I know. That’s 100% true.

But sometimes it’s nice to feel growth. To recognise the change.

Actually, scrap the word ‘nice’. Sometimes it’s amazing, exciting, exhilarating even, to feel growth.

I love yoga.

In all its forms.

And when I joined an online course so that I could elevate my yoga practice, I never expected to be this blown away.

Can you imagine suddenly getting the feeling of your stomach muscles beginning to work more efficiently?

Or by unlocking arm balances? Doing side crow? Pincha?

OMG! Yesss!

I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m on a journey and that’s what I find so exhilarating.

I’m not on a treadmill going nowhere anymore. And I’m loving every moment of it.

It’s as though I’ve been handed the key to my own cell. Suddenly I’m free to make progress, to become more flexible, to balance better, and to enjoy every moment more.

The course isn’t just for the young, the experienced, or the advanced yogis.

This course is for beginners and experienced alike.

Yeah, of course, advanced yogis can join too, but the course I’ve discovered right now is actually all-inclusive for young and old alike.

People who are in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s, all learning how to do side crow, headstand, handstand or forearm stand!

Whoop whoop!

And by the way, as long as you like to play around, don’t worry about not being able to do it.

That’s just another one of those stories we tell ourselves.

Another thing, I didn’t sign up for this because I wanted to do arm balances. No, I signed up because I was hungry for progress.

I wanted to do a real course.

I wanted to go in deeper.

And that’s what I got. A deeper practice.

If you want to see progress on and off the yoga mat (yes, it really does translate to your life too), then boy will you love this course which I’m doing right now.

For more tips on how to progress keep reading, or, if you’d like to know more about the course I’m so excited about, you can skip on over to my course review.

#2 Master Individual Asanas

As well as doing daily yoga flows, include some masterclasses which break down and focus on individual asanas.

For example, have you analysed downward-facing dog so that you’re truly in alignment and getting the most from it when you do it?

If you do downward-facing dog with a fully activated body, it’s quite a different pose to a beginner’s downward-facing dog.

That’s the beauty of yoga!

And until you’re in alignment you WON’T progress in a pose.

Find a course you like, which actually focuses on Asana masterclasses and follow it through – you’ll see your own progress for sure.

#3 Nurture a Positive Mindset

See those young, flexible, fit & strong yogis?

Do you think you can never do those amazing asanas?

Well maybe that’s true for some asanas for whatever reason, but there are others which you can absolutely do.

And the most important thing to remember is not to close the door with a negative story like, ‘I’m too old‘, or ‘I’m not strong enough‘.

Confession time! Hands up: do you tell yourself those kinds of limiting beliefs?

I know I used to. (Ok, so the voice still whispers in my ear, but these days I don’t listen to it so much.)

Chaturanga dandasana for example.

One of the most-used asanas and one of the least well-taught.

Btw, If you haven’t nailed chaturanga dandasana yet, no problem.

No biggie.

You can put your knees down and adapt your chaturanga to suit where you’re at today.

But if nobody shows you how to adapt in a way that will build strength, then you’ll probably still be on your knees in 5 years’ time. Or in 10. Or 15.

Then suddenly somebody unlocks the how to practise it for you, and now you’re talking. Now you’re going somewhere.

A positive mindset’s essential for your whole yoga experience.

Enjoy your time on the mat and give gratitude for everything that you can do. This will lead to more growth.

One great way to improve your mindset is to take up a mindful meditation practice.

If you miss a day of yoga, make sure to keep your positivity alive, because until your practice becomes truly part of your life, it can be very easy to get out of the routine, just as a consequence of one day off the mat.

So if that happens and you don’t make it to the mat one day, psych yourself up for the following day, to make sure you don’t break the flow.

Keep a positive, appreciative, persistent and curious mindset throughout your yoga.

#4 Find the Best Online Teachers or Platforms for Your Personal Growth

It’s surprising just how incredible it is when you discover an awesome new yoga platform to spark your progress in yoga.

Like me at the moment, I’m on fire since discovering Yogi Flight School.

Yogi Flight School – The BEST!!

I’ve loved my yoga sessions for quite a few years now.

And each time I discover a yoga platform, I get excited.

I confess it. It’s true. (I’ve shared my other favourite links below.)

But this one beats all the others hands down.

Because this time, as long as I keep putting in the work, I’m getting tangible progress.

So to share the love I’ve written an extensive review of YFS for anyone who wants to skyrocket their arm balances and inversions.

And full transparency, I’m now an affiliate of YFS because I want to share it and scream about it from the rooftops. It’s honestly the best investment in myself I’ve made in a long while.

But I know it isn’t easy to sign up for something like this. We have so many doubts.

I almost didn’t join.

Because it was unnerving.

It was a lot of money.

Maybe I wouldn’t like it.

What if I didn’t show up to complete the course? That would be a waste of my money.

And so the list went on.

Luckily, I got a peek inside when my daughter (coincidentally) joined YFS and told me about it.

Then, one day when she was visiting, I heard all about it and got a taste of what it’s like on the inside.

And then I couldn’t wait to join.

What you may not realise when you read about YFS is just how much of a life-changing, life philosophy is at the roots of this course.

Nathania Stambouli is the teacher and she doesn’t believe in negativity.

She also doesn’t believe in telling ourselves stories as to why we can’t do something. We are where we are. No story.

Do as much as you can and next time round you’ll find you can do more.

And each module of the course has variations for each stage of yogi. So you really can learn alongside people who have more and who have less experience than you.

And it works.

If you’d like to get the course, you can check it out here . . .

It’s awesome.

Okay, so you now know my favourite yoga course, which means Nathania’s my favourite teacher.

But before signing up for Nat’s course I had other platforms which enjoyed for practising my yoga.

I just didn’t progress as much with the others, but I still liked them.

My Second All Time Favourite Yoga Platform

Of course, our favourite teacher might change with time, but some will always stay with us.

Travis Eliot is one of those, and the reason why I’m choosing Travis is that you can get a really tough power flow or a super deep yin stretch which will leave you feeling superb.

I also like it that Travis includes the whole picture, asanas, meditation and mindset.

Here’s a 60-minute power yoga flow from Youtube which is part of the 108 level-up yoga program.

He has a yoga platform which you can join for regular new programs and classes (see more on that below).

Best Youtube Channels to Inspire Your Yoga Practice

Finding great Youtube video flows is half the battle to achieving progress in yoga.

This is a list of Yogis who I really appreciate for their part in my yoga practice in the past and a word about their individual styles.

  • Yoga with Adriene – With over 11 million subscribers, Adriene needs no introduction, She’s so popular for her Youtube yoga channel which is also great for beginners.
  • Yoga with Kassandra – My favourite of all these – I still love doing a flow with Kassandra! She offers a mix of vinyasa and yin, has a peaceful voice and has flows which are gentle but deep.

Travis Eliot’s Inner Dimensions TV

For a huge amount of choice and variation, try out Inner Dimensions TV with Travis Eliot.

There’s so much variety to choose from, including plenty of 60-minute flows, different yoga teachers and styles of yoga, from power yoga to yin yoga. I love to practise for an hour so that’s cool because hour-long classes can be harder to find (in other places).

The other great aspect of Inner Dimension TV is that there are complete programs like the 108 Level up program for example or the Flexibility and Beyond, both of which will keep you busy for weeks on end.

You can read more about it in the post, who’s your favourite yoga teacher online?

How to improve in yoga with Inner dimensions TV

More Great Yoga Platforms

I’ve been a member of a few yoga platforms. The first one was Grokker, which I wrote about in yoga online with Grokker, and which I really enjoyed at the time, but only for a short period.

The problem with Grokker was that when I’d exhausted the videos which resonated with me, there were almost no new ones coming in (back then, I don’t know now).

After that, I joined Omstars with Kino, which I enjoyed for a while too. Finding a great platform is important because it takes the hassle out of finding your daily yoga flow.

But eventually, the same thing happens, you either run out of new videos to follow, or you feel the need for some fresh input.

I ran out of enthusiasm at some point on Omstars too.

How to progress in yoga: Omstars homepage
Omstars yoga platform with Kino MacGregor

So How to Progress in Yoga and See Real Change in Your Practice?

I’ve edited this post to reflect my progress over time.

And as you can see from the links I’ve shared, I’ve been on a yoga journey for a while (until joining YFS, I was without spectacular progress) but each stage gave me something valuable.

And now there’s one which has really affected my yoga practice more than the others and that’s Yogi Flight School.

Or I should better say, one that’s elevating my yoga flow, because the course lasts for a year and I’m still enrolled, busy with it every day.

If you don’t want to buy a course, other things you can do are:

  • Challenge yourself to study specific poses and aim to improve at them. Not for the end result but for the process. This is one of the most important aspects which I hadn’t grasped before. I thought that by repeating a flow enough times I would just get better. But I now believe that it’s better to shine a spotlight on a pose and break it down each day during your practice. For example, you may do a vinyasa flow followed by a workshop on how to do bridge, and repeat that bridge practice every or almost every day that week/month. This way you have variety in your first flow and consistency in your second.
  • Fall in love with yoga – chicken or the egg? Maybe you have to practise yoga before you can fall in love with it, or maybe you have to fall in love with it first! When you do, then you’ll realise that you’ll progress no matter what. And ironically it won’t actually matter whether you progress or not because you’re in love with your practice anyway!
  • Prioritise your time on the mat. This is so important and I believe that this is a reflection of where you’re at, the moment when yoga really becomes part of you is when you prioritise it every day.
  • Know that you can always go deeper into a pose. It isn’t about pushing harder but about becoming more aware of what different parts of your body are doing and engaging where you need to engage. Just bending down and putting your hands on the floor isn’t actually a downward-facing dog unless you learn all the elements that go with it. Not knowing about those elements will hinder your progress.
  • Don’t ignore the breathing side of yoga. It’s fundamental to your practice and once you get into it you’ll feel differently about your practice.
  • If you’re having a bad day, or feeling stressed for whatever reason, you may have a negative voice telling you that you’re so rubbish or stiff or whatever. Allow the voice its moment (not much choice there), hear it once and then answer it – that it’s better to be doing this movement stiffly than not at all. And after that, do not enter into more communications with your negative voice. You will find that as time goes on you will hear less and less from your negative side which would pull you down.
  • Remember that yoga is about you and it is your special time of the day. In this way, we can reconnect with being a child again – being and doing something because we can instead of due to a schedule or ulterior motive. With the feeling of liberation comes a feeling of joy and a realisation of what is really important in life.
  • Find a teacher or more who resonates with you. For me, as I’ve already said, the best platforms I’ve discovered so far are Yogi Flight School and Inner Dimensions TV. The difference is that Inner Dimensions is super for providing lots of flows and YFS is a place to learn new poses, which improves your overall ability.
  • Choose a challenge and include it in every practice.
  • Finally, for me, giving up drinking alcohol (or changing your relationship with alcohol) is also a huge component of success in yoga or any other passion. Before going through this shift of consciousness and divorcing alcohol, part of each day was given to the activity of drinking a glass or two of wine. Only when I became free of that tie could yoga step up into the limelight and really shine as number one in my day.

Can You Build Muscle with Yoga?

Yoga can absolutely build muscle. The question is, are you doing yoga in such a way that it will build muscle and is yoga the best way for you personally to build muscle?

I’ve seen enough change in other people to know that it can be done. But if you’re going through menopause or peri-menopause, or if you’re starting out from a place of being extremely unfit, some people like to incorporate resistance training as well as yoga.

In Yogi Flight School for example, the training itself builds the muscles you’ll need to progress and to do the poses. You don’t have to begin with the strength, it will come with the practice.

Feed Yourself on Positive Energy

Whether you choose to follow a vegan lifestyle or a whole foods plant-based diet, I do believe that by not feeding your body with food which comes from a suffering animal you’re eliminating a negative source of energy.

Feed your body on positive energy and fill it with peaceful and healthy nutrition.

If being vegan is a new concept for you, you can see our vegan FAQ here.

How Yoga Changed My Life

Better said: how yoga is changing my life. Yoga is my companion. It leads me to places within myself which I had never discovered or had forgotten existed. It takes me back to enjoying my inner child.

When I was a child, I used to do things just because I could. As adults, we lose that and look for a reason for everything. With yoga, we can return to that state of just being.

As adults, we no longer skip along just because we feel happy.

Nor do we play leap-frog in the garden just for fun.

But as we lose that aspect of being a child, we (most of us) also condition ourselves to resign ourselves to a loss of contact with our physical and spiritual selves.

Yoga can reunite your soul with your body and of course your mind, and that is what it’s doing for me.

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