Yoga is everywhere these days. You can find yoga classes in almost every city in the US, if not at a yoga studio at a gym or in your office building. Can’t make it to a class in person? No problem. There are more streaming services than I can keep track of offering yoga classes online so you don’t even need to leave your house to do yoga. Even independent yoga teachers are getting in on the act and offering live online classes to participate in or download so you can yoga at your own convenience.
Is a 60-minute class too much?
No problem. Instagram has you covered with 7-day challenges, 14-day challenges, and 30-day challenges, offering you a pose a day for you to do and share with the online community.
More than ever there are so many ways to bypass a home practice.
I’m here to tell you that you still need your home yoga practice. Maybe now more than ever.
Here are my top 11 reasons for practicing yoga at home.
1. You can do all of your favorite poses. You can do whatever poses you want, actually. It’s YOUR practice.
2. Convenience. Not only can you practice whatever you want, you can practice WHENEVER you want to. Feeling stiff in the morning? Roll out your mat for 5 minutes of movement. Feeling unsettled before bed? Grab some blankets for a restorative pose. Need a quick boost of energy mid-afteroon? Bust out some sun salutations. Your practice is not limited to one day a week at the same exact time. At home, your options are unlimited.
3. Discipline. There is a difference between going to a weekly yoga class and rolling out your mat at home. Well, there are a lot of differences. When it comes to discipline, however, rolling out your mat at home steps it up a notch. It’s just as easy to come up with reasons you can’t practice at home as it is to come up with reasons why you can’t leave the house.
4. You’ll Become Stronger Faster. When you do yoga at home, you are reinforcing what you are doing in your weekly yoga class. So you might only practice your favorite poses or you might do more child’s poses or a longer savasana, but you’re still on your mat more than you would be otherwise. When you practice anything once a week, you will experience progress, though it will be slower.
When you practice anything several times a week, you will become more adept because it will be more familiar and consistent.
5. You Can Expand Your Horizons. A home practice gives you room for experimentation. Maybe there is a pose you tried in class once and it didn’t totally make sense. Or there wasn’t enough time to really explore it. Or maybe you saw someone else do a cool pose in a group class or online and you want to try it, too.
You can use your home practice to do what you might not do in an ordinary yog class. You might play funky music or add in squats or jumping jacks or spontaneous dance, if you’re into that. You can explore the edges of what a yoga practice means. Exploration, experimentation, and play are awesome home practice bonuses.
6. You will become more sensitive to the needs of your body. If you’re feeling tired, you can do a more mellow practice. If you have a hamstring injury, you can focus specifically on poses that will re-strengthen your hamstrings and avoid ones that will be painful. This is not just about doing what you want (see #1) but about doing what you need.
7. Self-Love, baby. A home yoga practice says, “yoga is important to me and it makes me feel good enough that I want to do it more than just once a week because how I feel matters.” By doing a home practice you are choosing to commit to yourself and your own needs. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal but it is.
8. A Home Yoga Practice Makes you smarter. You will learn so much more about yourself in a home practice than a group practice. You don’t have anything else to pay attention to except for you. Instead of just being a passenger on the yoga bus, you become the driver. That shift alone gives you so much more information than you might receive in your average yoga class. Having a teacher observe your practice is important, too. Teachers will give you insights you might not have on your own. However, there are things you will observe about yourself that no one else will be able to observe. Teachers can observe you from the outside, but only you can see what’s happening to you on the inside. For example, you might feel a tweaky muscle before a teacher sees it. Or you’ll notice yourself feeling vulnerable in a pose.
9. Eventually, you’ll become your own teacher. At least part time. And that is a gift.
10. From Casual to Committed. If you attend 1 or 2 classes a week, you might not consider yourself a “yogi.” If you have a home practice, you probably would identify as a yogi. Why is this important? Well, admittedly to some people it might not be important. For others, how we identify will determine how we act. This can be for better or worse. If you identify as a night owl, even if you need more sleep, you will still likely go to bed late. If you identify as a healthy eater, you will likely make food choices that reflect that part of your identity. If you identify as a yogi, you will likely make more time for yoga in your life because yoga is a part of who you are.
11. It’s Easier Than You Think. Your home yoga practice will not look anything like your yoga class. You do not have to aim for a 60-minute yoga practice full of challenging arm balances. Instead, aim for 1 pose at a time. Keep it super simple. In fact, when you’re first starting out, the simpler your home practice is, the better. If you try to make your home practice more complex, you won’t be able to keep it up. And if you try to do an extra long yoga practice, like a yoga class, you’ll feel daunted by the time and probably give up before you get going. Start small and keep it simple and short. Then you can build in bigger, longer practices if you want to.
A home practice is a phenomenal supplement to your yoga class. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Your weekly yoga class can be a great supplement to your daily home practice. Really, you do need both. So don’t go giving up your weekly, guided yoga class with your favorite teacher. Instead, add in a simple daily home practice and notice how they work together to transform your life.