With over 10,000 respondents from 147 countries, the DOYOUYOGA Global Yoga Survey conducted in 2016 gave a lot of interesting insights on how yoga is practiced around the world. And one of the things we found is that more and more people are choosing to practice yoga at home!
A whopping 46% of the survey respondents said they practice at home. This trend is on the upswing and, as respondents reported, is due to many factors. These are the top four:
1. It’s Convenient
Tired? Just got home from a long day at work and now you’re facing the prospect of changing and going back out into the world to face traffic and other people to put your mat down in a studio class? 71% of those who practice at home say "Nah" to that.
Practicing at home is handy! You can do it when and wherever you like, in your pajamas, in your underwear (even in the nude!) and you don’t have to battle the highway or the train to get there.
2. It’s Affordable
46 percent of those who practice at home do so because it’s easier on the wallet. YouTube yoga tutorials are free, and other at-home yoga materials can be far more affordable than studio fees—not to mention the added cost of getting to studio classes and back!
3. It’s Private
Many people find yoga difficult to enjoy or even to start because of a perceived sense of competition or judgment. If practicing yoga around other people makes you uncomfortable, or you feel like you’re not ready to sweat and/or flow in public, practicing at home for this reason can feel very safe and secure. 33 percent of the respondents cited this reason for why they choose to practice in the privacy of their home.
4. You’re in Control
When practicing at home, you get to dictate exactly how and what you add into your practice that day. Over 60% of people surveyed in the overall poll said that the instructor and atmosphere were crucial to their enjoyment of the class, so if you get to pick who leads you that day (whether it be yourself or a YouTube guru), you’re never in danger of being let down and you always know what to expect.
Are there downsides to practicing yoga exclusively at home?
While all of the above aspects of home practice can be very attractive, practicing at home also come with its pitfalls. If you’re finding a pose difficult, or perhaps holding a pose with incorrect form, it’s difficult to improve by yourself and you may put yourself at increased risk of injury.
It can be very nice to have the personalized feedback and adjustments of someone who can actually see your body in real life—this goes for any special needs too. If you have a preexisting injury or condition, practicing on your own could be more dangerous than doing so in a controlled environment with a trained instructor.
And there’s also the mood boost that you get from seeing other people and sharing a similar energy with a group during a class. When practicing at home, you may miss out on the community benefits that going to a class with other individuals could bring you.
Why Not Do Both?
Yoga classes should naturally be a welcoming, non-judgmental space, so if you’re not vibing with a certain studio, instructor, or class, try and experience a few more variations. It can take a few tries to find a place that’s right for you, so don’t give up just because of one experience that didn’t sit well with you!
With that said, however, many people enjoy practicing both at home and the studio, and regularly switch between the two for increased scheduling flexibility. So it's also worth noting that the fact that many yogis enjoy practicing at home may not necessarily be taking away from the attendance of in-person classes.
Which do you prefer, and why? Mixing it up is a great way to go—let us know in the comments what you like about getting the best of both worlds.
Image credit: Paige Rene