I am a yoga teacher and have been for a long time. However, I have a confession to make. I never used to practice at home.
Oh girl, I had all kinds of excuses for why I didn’t. I would say I never had enough alone time because of the kids. Or I’d lose focus on my practice when I noticed the dust bunnies under the couch when I was in down dog. Or most importantly, I would say I didn’t NEED to practice at home, because I went to yoga class regularly enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I love going to class! I love the energy in the room. I love learning from new teachers and learning different styles of practicing. And all of these are great reasons to go to class regularly!
A class environment is just that…. A class! You go there to learn the “how to’s” of yoga. How to do the poses safely and get adjustments that you need.
HOWEVER a home practice offers so much more than you may even imagine. Here are some of the main benefits of a consistent home practice.
1. You get the experience YOGA was originally intended for.
Yoga practice of old was not a group experience. It was designed to be a spiritual practice that brought you closer to experiencing yourSELF. For this reason, yoga was traditionally taught from one teacher to one student at a time.
Bottom line, yoga is a practice in learning yourself. And honestly you don’t need a room full of people to do that.
2. It’s the ultimate in learning yourself.
In keeping with the first point, the greatest self-learning experiences often come when you are alone with yourself.
Sure other people around you absolutely DO help you to learn about yourself. However, in my experience, many of my epiphanies and “ah ha” moments come after I’ve left the company of others and have had some alone time to reflect.
This has come to be my favorite aspect of practicing at home.
I get to do whatever pleases ME!
If I want to spend 5 minutes in pigeon pose because my hips are tight, I can.
If I want to lay in shavasana for the whole 60 minutes I’ve allotted for my practice then I can!
Oh and if I want to practice in just my underpants – I can do that too! Don’t judge me. You know you do it too!
4. You get to the core of what you need
This one is the best advantage of freedom in your yoga practice. You can make your home practice all about exactly what you need.
Truth be told, I would never teach my students the same way I “teach” myself at home.
In a class setting, the teacher has to go “middle of the road” on a lot of things. She has to hold poses for the amount of time that the majority of her students would appreciate. She has to offer poses that the majority of her class can do “well enough”.
At home you don’t have these issues. If you want to work on arm strength for an entire month you can. If you want to release anxiety about the future that you’re carrying in your hips and do mostly hip openers, go for it.
The point is, a class is a great place to be for many reasons, however, I’m learning that NOTHING gives me what I need as much as a home practice.
Want to start your own home practice?
I wrote a post about how exactly to establish a home practice that you can stick with. You can check that blog post out here!
So go ahead. Dare to step out of the studio and challenge yourself on your mat at home!
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