The Joys and Challenges of Home Practice

by on Jan.07, 2010, under Musings on Yoga

Many are the joys of a home yoga practice: No commute. Choice of practice and music or silence. The pleasure of solitude. No one to bump up against physically or otherwise. Pace is set to one’s own breath and heartbeat. Time to reflect and nourish. Fee is waived!

The downside of home practice:  If small children are about interruptions are frequent, or small bodies use your body as a jungle gym. No one to keep you going if inspiration/motivation fail.

The primary reason that students do not practice at home is that they do not know how to practice, how to sequence, how to pace themselves. They were never taught this  because they always relied on their teacher.  But there is a way to learn the art of home practice.  It’s important to find a teacher who can help you set up a home practice, and lead you through an updated practice every now and again. Another reason students shirk home practice is lack of quiet and space to practice in. If you do not have a dedicated place in your home to practice it’s very easy to get distracted by the phone, web, family voices. Try to carve out a small corner in your home that is ONLY for yoga or meditation practice. This will cue your body to practice every time you look at that space. One more cited reason (I’ve asked my students) why they don’t practice on their own is that some of them  are self-employed, or live alone. They look forward to the rich community found in their local yoga studio. It pulls them out of isolation, and into connection and relationship. Relationship, after all is the essence of Yoga- the yoke of it all, making two into one.

I’d love to hear your comments on home practice. What are your struggles?  Your inspirations?

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4 Comments for this entry

  • Susan

    Julie’s blog is really tgerrific and enlightening–I just add
    “Follow your bliss’–that’s what she’s saying.

  • Henry Barnes

    I have been doing Yoga since college and i love the way that it can relax my body. yoga is great for stress relief. *

  • Ethan Thompson

    my sister practices Yoga and i also find it interesting that is why i am also practicing Yoga now –

  • Maria

    I started practicing on my own when I was living abroad, and didn’t have easy access to a yoga class. You’re right; the biggest barrier was transitioning from thinking hard about what I should do next to actually practicing. But, this transition was easier than I thought it would be. After spending several months feeling awkward and like nothing flowed together, I gradually created sequences of poses that worked well for me, and when I returned to the US I found that I had trouble going back to practicing in a studio because I found that I often gained more from practicing at home than I did from paying $15 dollars to attend a class. I bought copies of a few good yoga books and kept them near my mat. Now, I live in Berkeley. I don’t attend any classes weekly, but probably attend 1-2 classes a month and an occasional workshop, and have a mental list of instructors in the area that I want to try a class with (you included, Julie). Having an active home practice means that I can actively incorporate new things from classes that I find helpful or inspiring, and has taught me to push myself. I’ve thought about teaching yoga, and if I someday pursue that path, I believe that having had a home practice for several years will have helped to build a strong foundation, and having tried many different styles will help me to choose one to train in if I decide to go this route.

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