Nobody loves a great group yoga class more than yours truly. It's how I got started and, for the most part, where I spend most of my time on the mat. The energy, the creative sequencing, the teacher's powerful voice, the chance to be led for an hour, it's good stuff for sure.
But to truly develop in your practice, a home yoga practice is, if not a "must," definitely worthy of serious consideration. Why is that? Let's start with these 5 reasons:
Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 1.14 tells us that "Practice that is done for a long time, without break, and with sincere devotion becomes a firmly rooted, stable, and solid foundation." I view yoga as a solid foundation for my life, and want it to continue to be just that; stable and solid. I've got the "long time" part, and for the most part the "sincere devotion," but it's invariably the "without break" that proves the biggest challenge. I travel, I have kids, I have a j-o-b, I can't always make time for an hour class + travel time to and from the studio. Solution: home practice.
Schedule changes. This really comes into play at this time of year. For some, summer schedules make it easier to get to class (maybe you're an educator or have more babysitting options in the summer months), but for a lot of us, summer can really kill our yoga routine. Kids are home and need to be fed and driven around, there are vacations, some travel to summer homes for long periods, or maybe the studio where you practice has a summer class schedule that just doesn't mesh with yours. Solution: home practice.
Travel. If you travel, it's not always easy to find a yoga studio near where you're staying that offers a class appropriate for your level during the exact 1-hour window you have between meetings or family activities. Not to mention that when you're in and out of town, it's easy to get out of your routine, so that even when you are home, somehow your "regular" class isn't so regular any more. Solution: home (or hotel room) practice.
Injury. I recently suffered a low back injury that, while far from serious, was enough of an issue that group classes weren't really an option. I'm all for modifications and doing your own thing, but there are a few sticky points. First, walking into to a group class, you never really know exactly what's going to be on offer that day, and if if it's a twist-focused class and you can't twist, it's going to be tough to modify for a full hour. Not to mention that when you're injured, you probably don't need to be doing a 60- or 75-minute yoga practice; a shorter, more focused practice would likely be far more beneficial. Why spend your time on a long class that might not give you what you need? Solution: you guessed it, home practice.
Solitude encourages and inspires creativity and productivity. Being part of a group practice is a wonderful thing. There really can be a shared energy that enhances each student's individual experience. But in general, we don't spend a lot of time on our own, and it's that alone time where creativity and even productivity are developed, especially if you're an introvert. Spending time on your mat by yourself provides a valuable complement to the time you spend in led, group classes.
On Tuesday, May 8 from 7-8pm I'm offering a 1-hour mini-workshop where we'll dive into these benefits, discuss the most common hurdles to developing a home yoga practice, and provide tips and "hacks" for becoming consistent in your personal practice. The cost is $15 and you can register online or email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. This is not a yoga practice, and is open to brand new practitioners as well as experienced students.