One of the most valuable tools I took with me when I finished my teacher training was my home based yoga practice. As part of our training we were strongly encouraged to develop our own practice both on and off the mat, using the 8 limbs of yoga. As I built my practice, it evolved from primarily physical to a practice that filled my life, not just my mat.
A yoga studio is nice for many reasons, my favorite reason is that you get to practice and socialize with other yogis. While I crave the community that practicing in a studio facilitates, here are 7 reasons why I love my home practice…
- The practice is all mine. I can flow at my own pace. I have the space to listen to my body and inner voice, the one that tells me what poses and pranyama will serve me best today. If I need to focus on balance, I base my practice on pranyama, mudras, mantras, & poses that will help me regain or maintain balance.
- There is no one to compare myself to. It’s just me! As I see it, within a yoga studio ego plays a big role in how far we will or won’t take our practice. Yes, teachers too fall into the comparison trap. It is good practice to take notice when ego takes over and back off a bit. At home there are no surrounding mats or competitive yogis to focus on…just me!
- I can practice poses that I have not entirely mastered yet. I practice handstand nearly every day and yet, I still need the wall. I love to practice arm balances, like side crow, and I still can’t bring my feet up off the ground for a full breath. They are still part of my practice and may not be if I were strictly a studio girl.
- Meditation. At home I can adjust my practice time to include a longer meditation. Sometimes I need my practice to be more physical, sometimes I need an extended meditation. I almost always need more meditation time than is offered in a studio practice.
- By weaving my home practice into my day, I have made yoga a lifestyle. If I know I will not have time to make it to the mat today, I can focus on pranyama throughout my day or the food that I put into my body or on maintaining loving interactions with family and friends.
- The schedule is mine to make. I practice when I can make the time…usually when the baby is napping. It’s not always in the morning or on an empty stomach, but it’s when I can practice and that makes it OK.
- It’s free! I don’t have to shell out $17 each time I unroll my mat. Let’s face it, studio yoga can be pricey. Now and then I will pop into a local studio to take a class or workshop and commune with other yogis, but my home practice is my main practice.
Obviously, if you are brand new to yoga, having the guidance of a well-trained teacher is always advisable. If you have been practicing for awhile and have thought about developing a home practice, go for it! With the extra love and attention, your practice will flourish and so will your life!