Written by Shelby Deering

Ever since yoga emerged from India thousands of years ago, people have sung the praises of its myriad mental and physical benefits, things that can be enjoyed whether you’re in a temple, a gym or your very own living room. 

Although you may have a beloved yoga studio where you enjoy practicing your asanas beside your fellow yogis, at the moment, you may not be able to go—yoga studios and gyms across the country are closed in light of social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But don’t worry—you can absolutely still get your Downward-Facing Dog on at home. And you should as yoga is an extremely adaptive practice that can be easily done even if you’re not being led by an in-person instructor.

Whether you’re settling in for some Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, using a yoga app or relying on tried-and-true moves you’ve done hundreds of times, there are plenty of benefits that can still be experienced during a home routine. While yoga is proven to increase flexibility, improve fitness and relieve stress, the vast majority of people who practice yoga regularly do so because it provides a sense of self-actualization and self-awareness.

The Mental Benefits

Yoga has been long-admired for its ability to support mental health. Between the slow, purposeful moves and relaxed breathing, there is an undoubtable mind-body connection that takes place when practicing yoga.

Here are some of the mental health benefits that have been confirmed:

Mental health has become top of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yoga is an easy way to get in a rigorous work out at home while also alleviating the effects of anxiety and depression that many of us are currently experiencing.

The Physical Benefits

Are you an athlete? Looking to get in better overall shape? Or, searching for a low-impact way to give your body a boost? The beautiful thing about yoga is that it can be practiced by anyone and everyone, and you can enjoy its physical benefits along the way. It can certainly improve muscle tone, but it’s also famed for its capacity to help certain health conditions and make things work better internally, too.

Scientists, researchers, doctors and practitioners all commend the power of yoga, citing physical benefits like these:

And these are just a few of the physical gains that are scientifically proven.

The Gear

You could be a seasoned at-home yogi, or perhaps you’re looking to start a brand-new practice in the comfort of your home. You likely want to get the most out of your home yoga routine—for a truly healthy, relaxing and rewarding relationship with yoga, we recommend that you stock up on the essentials.

    •  A shirt and leggings that allow your skin to breathe and feel soft and comfortable. Too-tight clothing can greatly hinder any yoga practice. 
    •  A scarf that keeps your hair in place and out of your face. 
    •  A water bottle you can keep on a nearby table. 
    •  Plenty of candles that set the scene and promote a feeling of Zen
    •  A scent that allows you to feel your calmest. We suggest putting a few drops of a favorite essential oil in a diffuser to breathe in those chill vibes. 

And of course, a good, sturdy yoga mat that will stay in place. Make sure it’s extra-clean and deodorized with a yoga mat refresher.