If you’re uncomfortable with your current knowledge of yoga, it may be necessary to take one or two classes or attend a yoga conference. “Classes or conferences are good in the beginning to learn proper alignment and techniques,” says Bender Birch, founder and director of The Hard & The Soft Astanga Yoga Institute in East Hampton, New York. “But they aren’t absolutely necessary. Many books and videos are available to provide great instruction if you really study them.” (For a sampling of guided yoga routines, see “Five Home Yoga Books and Videos,” below.)

In addition to making sure you are doing the poses correctly, it’s worth the effort to understand the philosophy that accompanies yoga. Yoga is a mindful exercise, and many practitioners consider that aspect as important as the postures. In fact, some believe an at-home yoga regimen offers a better chance for mindfulness because it eliminates public distractions.

Step Two: Create the right space