The last time we spoke, I shared some of my deliberations and anxieties over removing myself from the comforts of my home studio, and on the irony of coming into a home practice all the way over in the motherland of yoga. Having made the journey to India and back, and practicing at home all the while, I can definitely say that practicing at home packs some serious benefits, even for the most loyal (or apprehensive) of studio-going yogis. Here are a few reasons to think about practicing at home:
Though not without a certain amount of hesitation, I traded in my sweat drenched, vigorous practice for a more calm, intentional morning ritual. My progress wasn’t as rapid or measurable as when doing a regular power-flow practice and certainly not as fancy – but change is good. I read some books, tried new things, and starting thinking about yoga from a new perspective.
It’s useful to think of home practice as more than merely practicing in the house, but as a personal practice. Even with discipline to not peek at others in the room, studio practice is inherently public, visible. I realize now how much I draw on energy from others – and even aim to please. At home, I can’t meet at friend, be seen, or seek other external returns. At home, practice is private but also intensely personal in both the challenges and rewards.
For me, this was definitely the biggest challenge. For whatever reason, there was this lingering fear that I would forget my sequence or that it wouldn’t live up to my own expectations. Once I was able to fully let go of the idea that I needed to complete an exact 60 minutes of practice with perfectly timed postures and transitions, practicing again became easy. We should substitute ‘practice makes perfect,’ for ‘no practice is perfect.’
In India, even this perfectionist became accustomed to practicing in a cluttered, concrete room as my partner snoozed in the bed next to me. Back in Canada, I’m growing used to practicing on a charming but uneven hardwood floor and visits from affectionate house cats. Sure, it’s not ideal, but it works. We don’t all have spare bedrooms or rain showers or even proper yoga mats. And yet, yoga still works. The fundamentals of yoga are still there for everyone to use – and the funny thing is, we don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to do so.
Explore the uncomfortable
Some months ago, the thought alone of having to practice by myself conjured up what is still a baffling level of anxiety. As it turns out, exploring those pockets of fear is worthwhile (big shocker, right?). For me, this meant shedding another layer of my perfectionist self, which allowed me to, well, just kinda go for it. Getting to the heart of our hang-ups is one of the greatest perks of stepping onto the mat, wherever the mat might be.
Now, have I written off studio practice completely? Not exactly. But no longer do I feel I need to go to yoga to do yoga. And for me, that was the biggest thing. I am by no means a home practice guru, but, as it turns out, I don’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be pretty, because that’s not what it’s about and because no one is watching.
Happy (home) practicing!