We can now practice yoga online anywhere, and for a fraction of the cost of attending a group yoga class at a yoga studio.
Have you ever streamed yoga, paying 18 bucks a month, only to see your practice dwindle from six days a week to four, and then to once per month? Maybe you’ve purchased a yoga course on an app and completed one day of it or even, like me, none of it.
Online yoga is a big money maker for the yoga business—and teachers that offer it—but is it really a good way to practice yoga? Is it really what we modern yogis need?
Here are five reasons why we may only get just a fraction of the benefits of yoga if we practice at home with online videos.
1. Our risk of injury is higher.
As a beginner to yoga, finding the courage to attend a group class is the beginning of leaving our comfort zone. Besides the hands-on help of a real live person, being in a group provides a visual aid of the other students and someone to watch over us to keep us in safe alignment.
Injuries are less likely than when we try to replicate a yoga contortion found on Instagram that some yogi in Bali posted. A trained yoga teacher can help us create a strong foundation of the basics of yoga so we can safely move.
Someone notices when we’re not there. My teachers and fellow yogis noticed when I wasn’t. “Suzy, we didn’t see you last week. I hope you didn’t catch that cold that was going around.” Eventually I’d fill everyone in about my travels and visits to relatives and we would talk about it all. Now, as a teacher, I check in if I haven’t seen someone—and I’ve been there for them in tough times of loss and illness that may have been keeping them from their mats.
A real one, not a social media one! Practicing at a yoga studio a year after college provided me with something I was lacking as a new, working adult who had parted ways with her hard-partying friends. I took the studio challenge of yoga every day for one month. The classes were amazing but it was the community of amazing, like-minded, yoga-loving people who helped me to stay committed and deepen my practice.
I still think the best people are found at yoga studios! When one of our students had terminal cancer, the community banded together to bring meals, create prayer flags and do what we could to help his wife—a long-time yoga student herself—after he passed. We’ve thrown baby showers and even had a proposal at the studio. This kind of community is becoming rare in modern days. Our souls crave real connection, real community. Get your shoes on and get outta the house!
4. We go further together.
Anyone who has attempted a home practice knows it is way harder than when we practice with a group. The energy of the collective is like a supportive undercurrent for the practice. We feel stronger and focused. The breath carries us. The group becomes a magnet for prana and we feel better just being in the room. The teacher and fellow students uplift us.
5. We will do things we don’t like—and that’s good for us.
When we go to a yoga studio, we are not able to cherry-pick only our favorite poses, practice just until our phone rings or skip entire sections of the practice by doing only the part that makes us sweat—who needs savasana when we have dishes to do? We may also get a surprise substitute teacher who teaches something in a new enough way that our practice is forever changed. Often, I hear after class that the teacher said exactly what the student needed to hear. You simply don’t get this with pre-recorded classes.
I write this not just as a yoga studio owner, but as someone whose life was transformed from taking classes at a studio and becoming a part of a community.
I hope you will get out and connect, and that your local yoga community will empower your journey. I wish you many future chai lattes with your new yoga homies as you live your best life with the practice of yoga.
Author: Suzy Weyenberg
Image: Namaste Photography by Taylor (with permission)
Editor: Catherine Monkman