A daily yoga practice has many benefits, as we discussed in an earlier blog post. And you can reap those benefits in the comfort of your home or office without having to worry about fitting a class into your busy schedule or driving across town, or looking for parking.
In fact, few people actually go to an outside yoga class every day. In the strictest sense of the word, a yoga class is a place to learn, not a place to practice. If you go to a yoga class once a week, for example, you’re supposed to practice those lessons the rest of the week. It’s called yoga “class” for a reason.
So a home yoga practice is something your yoga teacher should encourage. She wants you to keep coming to class once or twice a week so she can check your alignment and offer additional guidance, but it’s at home where you get the many benefits of a daily yoga practice.
The Benefits of a Home Yoga Practice
- It’s Practically Free. You can save money by practicing yoga at home. After all, you just need a mat (maybe a mirror to check your alignment — although some traditions frown on the mirror). A yoga mat, some yoga props and a DVD may help, but once you’ve got your basic set-up, it’s practically free!
- It’s More Relaxing. Most people are naturally more relaxed at home than in a class. You may feel more willing to experiment with new postures or take a familiar pose a little deeper. After all, if you fall over, you’re the only one who’ll laugh about it.
- It’s Easier. When you stay at home to practice yoga, you don’t have to worry about keeping up with the yoga rockstars. There are always people in the front row setting a pace few can follow. But at home, you can wear whatever you want and you don’t have to fix your hair or even shower.
- It Fits Your Schedule. Your home yoga practice is ready when you are and lasts as long you need it to. If you wake early one day, your first sun salutation can prepare you for the day ahead. If you have to work until late, you can end your day with a more restorative practice. Yoga can find its way into your lifestyle, however and whenever you let it.
- It’s for You and You Alone. Classes can be crowded with people of varying skill levels. If you practice at home, you don’t have to compare your yoga poses to anyone. You can really spend the time feeling the postures, which will help you improve your practice.
Tips for a Home Yoga Practice
- To get started, speak to your yoga instructor. She will undoubtedly have some advice, since she knows your level — your strengths and weaknesses — better than you do, especially if you’ve been going to her classes for any length of time.
- Make the space for your home yoga practice. You can use any room, as long as you can find space to store all your yoga props (including your yoga mat), so everything you need is at hand whenever you decide to do your practice.
- Give yourself permission to practice your favorite poses or to mix it up, depending on your energy level and mood. No one is watching, so you can do anything you want, whether it’s the sequence you learned in class or something you feel your body needs. Every little bit helps.
- If you do follow a DVD, use it to learn a few things at a time. No one will grade you; find your own flow. Integrate what you learn and move on.
- Keep it fresh. Yoga is a unique practice; you will benefit from challenging yourself instead of doing the same routine over and over. This is the time to try new poses.
Most yoga teachers love it when you come to class with questions from your home yoga practice. It shows them you take it seriously and that you really want to pursue it. So while you practice at home, continue to attend a weekly class. The combination of personal exploration and professional guidance is the best way to see your personal yoga practice progress.