Get a Leg Up
Because leg strength is the key to many yoga poses, make sure to work from the legs. Do standing postures first, then twists, then forward bends and finally backbends. Following this sequence will allow you to prepare your arms, shoulders and spine for more-intense poses.
Stop, Look and ListenYour home practice is an opportunity to take note of how your body and mind feel and to make the yoga truly your own. Tune in to how you're feeling as you practice, and pay attention to the instructions you're giving to yourself—the attention you're paying to your breathing, posture and strength. Essentially, listen to the voice of the teacher inside yourself.
Don't Push ItSave poses you don't feel confident doing for class, when you can be supervised. For instance, a headstand, done incorrectly, can lead to serious neck and shoulder injuries and shouldn't be practiced by anyone without the requisite experience.
You may be tempted to skip a cool-down when pressed for time. Don't. Always end with corpse pose—even if it's only for a few minutes.
Tools for at-Home Asanas
After a few weeks, your at-home practice will begin to take shape. At that point, your greatest challenge will probably be adding new poses. Don't worry; there are plenty of resources to help your yoga practice grow.
Get a Note From Your TeacherAsk your instructor to write down some of the poses you did in class, or to recommend a sequence for you to do at home. As you practice the sequence at home, try to remember the points your teacher made.
Pin It UpYou can buy a poster that shows all 440 poses in the Ashtanga primary series. Mount it on the wall where you practice for easy reference as you go, whether you plan to practice five poses or 50.
Make a DealA deck of yoga cards is a terrific way to mix up a new series of poses for each workout, and you can lay them out right next to your mat. Some decks also come with suggested sequences.