Practicing at home was what really led me on my yogic path. I remember being 25 (ohhhh that was a long time ago!), working as a Wellness Coordinator for Arlington County Government, and hiring a yoga teacher (thank you Kay Hawkins!) to teach a lunchtime yoga class. At the time, I was a go-go-go aerobics and spin instructor. None of this SLOW yoga for me!!
However, Kay said to me, you should come to class, how else will you know what I’m sharing with the employees? I said yes just to humor her but didn’t really think I’d like yoga. What I came to learn, was the go-go-go pace I ran at didn’t allow me to just be with ME! I kept going to class. There was something she was offering that resonated with me so much so that I started practicing at home with a Rodney Yee VHS – remember those? That home practice, led me to find my own way on the mat sometimes, not always. And you know where that led me right? Right where I am today!
Having a home practice, especially designing your own, can be scary. I don’t find it scary anymore, but I do often prefer to have someone lead me rather than my leading myself.
However, the practices where I lead myself are always the most juicy and fulfilling. Know why? Because I get to do what I want or what my body or mind says it wants.
This is one of the BIGGEST benefits to having a home practice. It can be exactly what you need. You can choose to do asana (postures), breathwork, meditation or just relaxation. The combinations and possibilities are endless.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy. Having a home practice takes discipline. Just like showing up on your cushion for meditation, it doesn’t just happen unless you make it happen.
Here are a few benefits of growing your own home practice:
- No one else is around – just you and you alone
- It’s easier to tune into yourself without anyone else in the room and you can really listen to your needs, wants and desires
- Your relationship with yourself will change as you meet yourself on your mat
- There is no set schedule
- You can be flexible with your start time as well as where you practice and what you practice
- You can decide what to do – what muscles to work or lengthen, what type of practice to create – it’s all about YOU
- You can connect to your own breath and not be told when to breathe
- You can work on your more challenging poses at your own pace
- You can save time, energy and money not struggling to get to class
“Nothing replaces the home practice,” says 25-year yoga veteran Rodney Yee. “Listening is the practice of yoga; it’s so important to go into your own body and ask it to be your teacher. It is a time when you can find your own rhythm. It is where the genuine knowledge arises.” (He’s still practicing!)
“Going to classes has many benefits, of course,” he acknowledges, “but I have observed time and time again that it is when people start to practice at home that the real insights occur.” (had to put this in here for old times sake!)
Remember – every practice is perfect and every pose is perfect – it is about your intention as you set forth on your practice.
Next week I’ll share a presentation with you on creating a home practice.
Until then make friends with your mat and practice!