September 24, 2013

8 More Secrets of a Happy Home Yoga Practitioner.

read the first: 8 Secrets of a Happy Home Yoga Practitioner.

I adore practicing at home.

Seriously—love, love, love. Why?

Here are a few more reasons to practice at home, from my happy-home-yoga-practitioner’s heart to yours:

1. Music. I love hearing music pump and blare in an awesome class at the studio, but I equally appreciate being in control of the stereo at home—and that includes turning it off.

I didn’t include music in my last list because I’ve recently been enjoying silent solo practices. However, this got me thinking about how wonderful it is to have this as an option as well.

On the other hand, there are absolutely days when I’ve plugged my iPod into the dock and flowed to grooves that I generally wouldn’t (as a teacher) play in a class or (as a student) expect to hear.

2. Illness. This one’s just a touch ironic seeing as how I’m literally in bed hacking a lung out with bronchitis. Still, there have been lots and lots of moments throughout my practicing years when I’ve had an above-the-neck illness, such as a cold, and I’ve appreciated being able to practice at home all by my lonesome.

Sometimes it’s a huge relief to be able to cough or reach for a tissue and not have to worry about feeling like Typhoid Yogi and, others, it’s wonderful that you can slow down your practice and completely tune into your own bodily needs.

Sure, you can always go into child’s pose or take modifications within the classroom, but you shouldn’t necessarily be going to the studio and rocking out your own entire sequence. (From the teacher’s standpoint—that’s a little bit odd and insulting.)

So, thank you once again, home practice.

3. Better teacher. What I mean by this is that you will be a better teacher if you have a regular home practice.

Personally, I think it’s exceedingly easy to spot instructors who regularly move and flow and meditate at home—and those who don’t.

You can experiment on yourself rather than students—trying out sequencing and learning how to access your body more deeply—and then you’re better equipped to help your students achieve their own higher levels of sensation awareness.

I understand that when you teach yoga this means having fewer hours in the day for your own practice, but I’m strongly suggesting that you either figure out how to make it work or that you teach less because everyone—both the students and you—will benefit.

4. Better student. Here’s the flip-side of the coin: you’ll also become a better student if you take the time to practice on your own.

Overall, you’ll get oodles more out of the time that you do choose to spend in a classroom by learning how and when to take your time in postures at home and, frankly, you’ll be more likely to truly understand the concept that the poses between poses—otherwise known as transitions—are poses in and of themselves.

Additionally, practicing on your own enables you to become fully present within your practice, and this presence will also do one, perhaps, unexpected thing for you: it will make you more willing and desirous to listen to the teacher come class-time.

I, for one, practice fairly equally between the studio and home—but often more home than away—and by the time I walk into the classroom I’m ready for someone to tell me what to do because I’ve had my fill of doing whatever I want—and it’s nice to be able to relax and melt into a skilled teacher’s queuing.

So go ahead and practice at home—if you want to become a better student, that is.

5. Savasana length. For better and for worse, you are in charge of your own final relaxation when you practice at home.

This might mean that you’re able to stay longer, and to make and commit more time to this final—and extremely important—pose, and it might also mean that, from time to time, you skip it—closing, instead, with a seated meditation. (Blushing guiltily—and happily—as I type.)

6. Practice time. Yep, this is another great perk of unrolling your mat at home: you can make your routine as long or as short as you like.

Alternately snapping my fingers, whistling and clapping my palms together—yep, so there’s that…

7. Bathroom breaks. Having a bathroom down the hall—and not having to walk over the hurdle of several students’ mats to get there—has been great when I’ve been a sick yogi, and a pregnant yogi—and a yogi that just simply had too many cups of coffee before class.

Uh, moving on…

8. It’s free! Finally, you won’t hear this yogi complaining about spending money on yoga classes—the teacher’s time and education and the benefits of being in a studio atmosphere are worth it. Nonetheless, costs and budgeting are concerns for basically all of us—and I don’t think anyone would scoff at a free yoga session.

Let’s put it this way: if you were asked to participate in something that could take as little as ten minutes or as long as you liked, that would leave you feeling both energized and relaxed, where only comfy clothes were required and, on top of all this, it didn’t cost you a single stinkin’ dime, would you turn this offer down? My bet’s no.

Well, then, what are you waiting for? 


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Ed: Sara Crolick

{photo credit: Heather Morton }



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