To follow-up on Harriet’s blog entry about the benefits of a studio practice, I would like to talk about the benefits of using a home yoga practice as a complement. I myself practice at home daily and find it beneficial both as a form of meditation and as a means to further improve my practice by having a private space to experiment with more challenging poses.
Here are a few of the benefits of a home yoga practice:
- Choosing when to practice and what to practice (to fit your mood or your needs): Whether it is 10 minutes in the morning before leaving the house or a 2 hour practice at night when you don’t feel like going anywhere, you don’t have to rush to get to your class on time because you can start your practice anytime you want! You can also work on the asanas/pranayama/meditation techniques you feel you need the most to fit your mood and needs.
- Wearing what you want: Even though Yoga is not about looks, we don’t really show up at a studio class wearing old underwear or see through leggings. But when you are at home, you can wear (or not wear!) whatever you want because there’s no one else to see you.
- There’s nobody else to compare yourself with: In a studio class, we always say to keep our focus on our mats. Even though we can do this most of the time, there’s often that moment where we look around and compare ourselves to other students, or even the teacher. When you practice alone at home, there’s no temptation to compare yourself to anyone else!
- It builds discipline and focus: When you start your practice at home, you might hear your phone or computer beeping, or your partner’s TV show super loud in the background. You might also have a ton of dishes to wash in the kitchen sink or laundry to fold. But when you make the conscious decision to practice at home, you fully commit to yourself and your mat. It builds the discipline and focus to leave all those distractions behind or block them out for a while.
- You can take your practice anywhere: When you start to be comfortable practicing at home, you can eventually bring your practice with you anywhere! All you need is a bit of space and let your imagination flow. I remember all those times where I practiced yoga in my hotel room as I was travelling or even in a park on a nice sunny day.
- You have more freedom to move around and explore: Sometimes classes get crowded in yoga studios. It is then a challenge for the students (and the teacher!) to be very careful to not invade their neighbour’s space while moving through asanas. When you practice at home, you don’t need to worry about that, you can take all the space you want or need.
- Builds self-discovery and self-awareness: Since you have to focus so much on yourself when you practice at home, it stimulates self-discovery and self-awareness. You may become more aware of your breath (sound, pattern) and more in tune with your body’s needs, areas of tension or areas of openness. You also have more opportunity to discover what works for you in your practice versus what you like a bit less.
Note: If you are a beginner, I suggest that you seek out some advice from a certified yoga teacher before embarking on your home practice journey.