Starting my at-home practice was simple and just felt right. All I needed was my mat, the present moment, and either my online yoga videos or my own teacher, myself.
I eased into things, only practicing once or twice a week for twenty minutes or so. It was just a little bit of post-run stretching and some core work to shake things out after my usual workout. Then it developed into something more.
How I found my needs and my yoga.
I jumped into a routine which was more of a daily or three to four times weekly affair. My sessions got longer, extending to a thirty or forty minute practice. It was fabulous. I could do it whenever I wanted and didn’t need to go anywhere, arrive early, sign up for anything, or talk to anybody. And it didn’t matter that sometimes I wore my favorite you-can-totally-see-through-these-when-I-bend-over tights.
I still go to the yoga studio every week, but mostly for hot yoga because I can’t do that at home. It's also a treat to have the knowledge and hands of a professional to help me avert any bad habits I pick up when away from the studio. However, I spend the most time also practicing on my own at home, and I really like it.
Here are 5 reasons to start your own at-home yoga practice.
1. It’s there when you need it.
Isn’t one point of yoga to take an opportunity to relax, clear your head, and free your mind from negative thoughts and muddled intentions? The nature of signing up for a class and going to the studio is that all of this important mind-clarifying work has to happen at a specific time (aka, the scheduled class time). It also means that somebody else tells you when to clear your mind and free your thoughts.
An at-home practice allows you to go at your own pace and to tailor your practice to your own needs. Whenever my mind is the most cluttered or distracted, my home practice allows me to set a new intention which is on my time and unique to my needs.
2. You eliminate all excuses.
It’s raining out. It’s too far to walk. I don’t have a ride. None of the classes work with my schedule.
When you have to go somewhere for a class at a time determined by someone else, it’s easy to come up with heaps of excuses why you can’t make it happen, legitimate or not. We're all guilty of this from time to time, but luckily there's an easy solution.
When practicing at home, there’s no excuses. You and your mat are already in the same room in the right place at the right time: your time.
3. You can wear whatever you want.
Have you ever skipped a yoga class because all of your clothes reeked from your last hot yoga sessions? Despite our best efforts, we all have those days where all our gear is buried somewhere deep in a laundry pile, and regardless of the best intentions, this laundry just hasn't been tackled.
The good news? When you practice at home, you can still wear your stinky clothes. Or not. You can wear whatever you want. After all, the only person who will see (and smell) you is yourself.
4. Stay home, save money.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer in spending money on my health. This includes healthy food, health products like bee pollen and maca, and of course, yoga classes.
I have, however, literally saved hundreds of dollars since I started practicing at home. Now, the classes I go to are often the karma classes, (which I never went to before as a studio member because I had already paid ahead for classes), so I save money and benefit the community. Win-win.
5. Feel comfortable and take more risks.
I don’t know about you, but I never really attempted Crow Pose, inversions, or any pose that I wasn’t fairly confident I could complete successfully in a packed yoga class where everyone was staring at the mirror or looking right at me. Or at least, that's what it felt like.
Since starting a home practice, I can do Crow Pose and am even well on my way to mastering a handstand. I can take my time, laugh at myself, and go at my own pace. With no one watching or waiting, I can fall over as much as I need.
I will always continue to go to a yoga studio for some of my weekly practice; it makes hot yoga possible as well as provides professional support and teaching. While this happens, I’m also pretty happy and pretty proud of this at-home yoga studio I’ve created. And I’ll keep going to that one too!