September 14, 2013

8 Secrets of a Happy Home Yoga Practitioner.

Oh, home practice, I adore you.

Some days I just don’t feel like going to class—so I don’t.

Instead, I turn on the little space heater in my small yoga-dedicated room and hop on my mat in the privacy of my own home.

And although I feel extremely fortunate to have such a mindfully dedicated space at the moment, there have also been many, many times when I squeezed my mat in between furniture—after cramming the coffee table over there—and got my yoga on—and it still rocked.

Hotels, the kitchen, back porches, soggy grass, you name it, I may have enjoyed practicing there—there being basically anywhere besides a yoga studio, all by myself.

And there are certainly unique benefits of having a regular home practice. Here, in no particular order, are a few:

1. I’m lazy.

I love that I can go through a completely relaxed sequence if I’m feeling mellow.

I can burrow into child’s pose for as many breaths as I want and, while I recognize fully that I could do this in class, there’s a different tranquility that happens when you allow yourself to slow down solo.

Having shared that, there’s the flip side of the coin too because…

2. I like to experiment…alone.

One of my favorite aspects of my home practice is that I honestly also have the drive and desire to push myself at home and I actually am more likely to rock out a challenging posture for the first time in the comfort of my own cozy yoga space.

I thought for months that I couldn’t float up into headstand from a wide-legged forward fold like the cool yogi next to me in class—until I tried it at home. A little more private practice and I then felt comfortable to work it in the classroom setting too.

So, if you’re a tad on the shy side, there are definitely pluses to practicing at home…alone.

3. I funk up my practice.

Adding a fun, favorite posture like twisted pigeon pose into my sun salutes? Don’t mind if I do!

While I surely wouldn’t teach, or maybe even recommend to most bodies, some of the fun and funky things that I try out at home, I adore that—by myself—I can do whatever I want.

 I can completely listen to my body as I move and breathe.

And what a way to also truly get in touch with yourself and your own personally intimate physical, mental and emotional needs.

Oh, home practice, I’m beginning to gush.

4. I practice with the hot shots.

Jason Crandell, Baron Baptste—you name them, I’ve practiced with them—in a podcast.

Like many home practitioners I like podcasts—no, I love them.

And here’s what I love: I appreciate that, thanks to technology and a pretty snazzy laptop, I can practice at home, whenever I want and take classes from people that I otherwise couldn’t and—here’s the best part—I can still shut myself off and let someone else guide me.

Thanks, podcasts, you’re awesome.

5. I appreciate class.

Yet, at the same time, practicing with yoga-teaching heroes like Jason Crandell has an unexpected perk: I remember just how great the teachers at my favorite studio also are.

I remember that I go to class because I love the studio experience—dimmed lights, amazing flooring, familiar faces and some seriously great music.

There are absolutely elements to a class that you simply cannot recreate at home, so why would you try when you can have the best of both worlds?

Allow your home practice to move you back toward the classroom when it sounds inviting—and always be thankful if you are able to do both.

6. Looks schmooks.

Wear my rattiest and most loved yoga tank top to class with short yoga shorts? Not me, no way.

Wear them in my little yoga room down the hall from my bedroom? Oh yeah.

Dripping, loose wet hair from a hot shower moving everywhere as I practice? Yes, please. (Try this one if you haven’t, trust me.)

Basically, there’s no dress code at home. Thank God.

7. I can bring my toddler.

When my daughter was still a tiny baby who didn’t wriggle and roll around, I would lovingly place her at the top of my mat and kiss her sweet, pink face as I lowered from plank into chaturanga.

These days, however, she’s a moving, independent-thinking being who (thankfully) cannot be contained—which makes me eternally grateful for my home practice.

For you, maybe it’s a furbaby.

When I asked fellow home practitioners on Facebook to share with me what they loved most, several wrote things like puppy licks and kitty tail massages.

In short, I think many-a-home practitioner is grateful for the little children (be it fur or human) who we can share our yoga time with.

8. Clothing optional.

Apparently there are now clothing-optional yoga studios. I’m a never-say-never kind of gal, but let’s just say that I don’t see myself trying this anytime soon.

At home, though? Well, anything goes—including that irritating bra.

I’m sure there are a plethora of other wonderful things that I could have added to this list, but that’s the really special thing—there are so many positive facets of having a regular home yoga practice that it’s impossible to even begin naming them all.

So if you relate to this then consider setting an intention of gratitude the next time you flow through asanas at home and if you don’t—what are you waiting for?

Maybe today will be day one of your glorious clothing-optional, bed-head hair yoga routine.

If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go turn my heater on…


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Ed: Sara Crolick

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