8 Secrets of a Happy Home Yoga Practitioner.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Sep 14, 2013
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home practce

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…


Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

Ed: Sara Crolick


About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


21 Responses to “8 Secrets of a Happy Home Yoga Practitioner.”

  1. kimberlylowriter says:

    Love this one!

  2. Thank you, Kimberly!

  3. isabelezrati says:

    oooooo let me add one! #9 you can have ANY kind of soundtrack you want and can move to the music without keeping up with the class sequence. One of the things I love about my home practice is that my breath and movement can flow with my music choices if that's the kind of practice I'm feeling for that day.

  4. I absolutely agree. Good one! I'll be honest that my recent passion for practicing without music may have subconsciously caused me to skim over that suggestion!

  5. Victoria Penko says:

    How about # 11: its the only option when you're in solitary confinement! Seriously, I'm just getting over pneumonia. No way I would throw my germy self into the centre of a healthy group of deep breathing yogis. I've been practising with Elena Brower at home this week. loving the online yoga program's

  6. Jules says:

    You inspired me to practice on my bathroom towel in shanghai through extreme humidity, and nothing but honking as my sountrack. Thanks Jen xo

  7. Muks says:

    I love this!

  8. Yay, Jules!! (And I literally cannot tell you how many times I've practiced on hotel towels with nothing but the semi-distant sound of a vacuum cleaner.) xo!

  9. Yes! Great one! I've also practiced low-key at home to boost my immune system a little when I wouldn't want to be mat-to-mat with other yogis in class. Thanks!

  10. amphibi1yogini says:

    #10 – Candles in non-devotional, more sensuous fragrances, #12 – Not having to put up with incense in INYOURFACE concentrations, or ANY incense, for that matter #13 – Not having to put up with adjustments – be it MY LOSS – but, given my history, it's also been my GAIN (no possible ambushing by an ego-driven instructor) … if something goes dreadfully wrong with practice, who'm I gonna sue, my [young] landlord? (I'm not the litigious type anyhow, I have had really BAD accidents in my building – relating to non-violent sports equipment, not yoga–and – Nothing), #14 – Be the yoga fusionista that I am, #15 – Be chronically ill and still be able to keep up with the pre-recording/pre-planned sequence – or mash it all up … Sahaja is not a dirty word in Sanskrit!, #16 – Be able to get my yoga on with Bethenny Frankel via dvd, or eat the way I need to for my condition – and still feel I could respect myself in the morning …

  11. @simonarich says:

    I also love practicing yoga at home, yet when I feel like I'm becoming too easy on myself I know it's time for a good yoga class. Yoga teachers take me beyond my home yoga sessions, and that makes me grow. I appreciate this, yet I also love doing yoga the way I want and how long I want at home.

  12. amphibi1yogini says:

    Yeah, well, in spite of the knicknacks and all the production I make of the whole thing, whenever that happens, I make liberal use of online yoga instruction as both guide for sessions and templates to add sections of, to my at-home repertoire. And I get inspiration from other at-home yogis (who are not anything but self-teachers) … these days they are not all beginners/amateurs and many are non-Ashtangis, too.

    And occasionally a series of classes. However generous the expiration dates … I do find that non-gym-style yoga classes, if taught at a studio seem to be enriched in content, and demanding of at least fairly frequent commitment …Since my motivation to practice at home is primarily financial, I do not do a series of classes, on a year-round basis; and do not attend retreats, workshops or trainings of any sort, either …(not even online trainings, as I have no interest in teaching yoga) … I'm also a sick old lady who works full time with a lengthy commute and have to caretake elderly and infirm relatives, so my karma yoga does not begin or end with any studio work-exchange programs, if there are any left in the big city …

  13. Amanda says:

    YES! Agree wholeheartedly with all of it!

  14. Jamie Khoo says:

    This is great, so honest and authentic and all-you (which I believe is what yoga should bring us to however it's practised!) This has so made me want to pull out my yoga mat and squeeze it between that tiny space between my bed and my chest of drawers and do a bunch of twisty sun salutes <3

  15. Jenny says:

    If yoga has taught me one thing, it’s that anywhere you sit, stand, or salute is sacred. Thanks for reminding us that it’s not about yoga outfits,, a zen-like atmosphere, or money. We’re so lucky to have this precious body—right now, as it is, without needing to go anywhere to feel it. I guess if you think you have to be in the “right environment,” then you probably haven’t been paying attention


    Love xox

  16. Thank you, Jamie! Happy sun saluting 😉

  17. Jenny, thank you so much!
    My thoughts and heart entirely echo your shared words.

  18. Jenn says:

    Get out of my head! Lol, such a cool share :). Keep rocking your Namaste style!

  19. Lindsay T says:

    All quality points when it comes to the advantages of practicing at home. I absolutely love it. It was hard to find a decent program to follow as I don't have a lot of experience but after almost a year I feel like I don't miss the studios at all. http://www.homeyogareviews.com helped me choose a program btw.

  20. normac says:

    have it all set up…push the button…and right after Savasana, the coffee is ready:-)