Now that many of us are working from home and waiting for yoga studios to open up, how do we regularly practice yoga? Here are some tips from a veteran NYC yoga teacher.
Ask any dedicated yogi, and they will be sure to tell you that establishing a home yoga practice is essential to making yoga a consistent part of your life.
Of course, the studio is a necessary luxury. We crave both the guidance and the touch of our beloved teachers. We need the challenges they offer us, as we might not otherwise push ourselves to our proverbial limits.
Sadly, in this modern age, making time is more of a hope than a reality. Post COVID, we now realize how we can't be dependent on a yoga studio to provide a daily yoga practice. Even as studios slowly open back up, the studio’s schedule might not offer a class or teacher at the perfect time of day—often at the crack of dawn or well after we have digested our supper.
Yet, we wish to show reverence to our yogi bible, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which states:
“You must cultivate your practice over an extended period of time; it must be steady, without gaps, and it must be done correctly—for then a firm foundation is laid.” -YS 1.14
If we are to succeed in honoring this sutra, then our once weekly pilgrimage to the yoga studio won’t be sufficient.
What if time is not the issue?
What about those bouts of blah-ness that come over us from time to time? You know, those moments when it feels like a tremendous effort just to pull up our leggings and put on our game face in order to make it to the yoga show. Those days happen, and sometimes we just cannot muster up the energy to make that trek to class. If we had a home practice in place, we might not beat ourselves up over this, right?
If you still need convincing, here are five more reasons why you may want to unroll that sticky mat in the privacy and comfort of your own home:
- Yoga love don’t cost a thing
Studios can be pricey. A daily practice in a studio can run us 200 dollars per week. Couple that with a green juice habit, and we may just catapult ourselves into debt faster than we can say Suze Orman.
- Let it flow, let yourself go, slow and low
We can go at our own pace. This is especially beneficial for those yogis whose nature it is to be competitive. Now is the time to perfect crow — if we face plant, who will know? The chances of ending up with a broken nose are pretty slim — especially if we have carpeting. In fact, my guess is that there are probably fewer occurrences of yoga-related injuries when practiced at home. Unless, of course, we hyperventilate during an intense round of breath of fire. (In which case, keep a paper bag close by.)
- Flow it, show it, as long as God can grow it
Whether we don’t have time or money for personal grooming, or we’re self-conscious about our feet, this is the time to celebrate all of our perfect imperfections. By flying yoga solo, anything from camel-toe horrors to hammer toes can be a worry of the past. Actually, we could even use your downward-curling phalanges to our advantage as our foot grips the mat for dear life in, say, eagle pose.
- The Sound of Silence
We have all been in class when a student forgets to engage mula bandha and their vegan Indian feast from the night before has an intense desire to be heard. It’s natural, we know. But who wants to be subjected to that? Even worse, what if it’s you? Well, if you are the only tree in the forest and no one is around to hear it, did you really make a sound?
- Under pressure
Oh, the stress! Put away all of the accouterments exactly the way we found them, or we run the risk of those disapproving glares from the other tribe members. More importantly, why exactly are we folding up those itchy, Guatemalan blankets anyway? Have they ever seen the inside of a washing machine? I think not.
The benefits of a home practice are countless. From tightening up our budget to saving ourselves from unwanted embarrassment, practicing yoga at home can be a welcome addition to any lifestyle.
All joking aside, all it takes is a mat’s length of space, a few uninterrupted minutes and a commitment to the practice.
There’s no place like Om.
Resources for your home yoga practice
Yoga mat: Eco-friendly home yoga mat
Research to motivate: Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase the quality of life
Photography to inspire: Gallery of yoga poses
Author: Maria Chassen
Maria Chassen is a NYC based Yoga and Thai Massage Teacher. Her unique yoga classes blended with Thai massage offer a transformative experience that helps you reconnect with your true essence of calm and balance.