If you can’t afford to take a class, what is the best path to take in beginning a practice at home?<br><i>—Janet from Lawrence, Kansas</i>
Establishing a home practice is a wonderful way to create a very direct and personal connection to your yoga. The downside is that, without a teacher who can make hands-on adjustments, you are in danger of developing habits that may not be beneficial. This is why I think it is crucial to find a tape, DVD, or CD that provides a wealth of information, and to be sure that the information is delivered in a variety of forms that complement each other.
The good news is that there is a wealth of fine products to choose from when developing a home practice. Go to your local library or video store and check out a handful of videos by different instructors. Shop around until you find someone with whom you connect, the way you would if you were trying to find the teachers that you liked at a new studio. As you try different tapes or DVDs, try to find a teacher who instructs in a way that makes sense to you. This may sound self-evident, but what I mean is that he or she communicates information in a way that helps you understand the form, structure, and spirit of the practice, and that provides additional material to support your understanding of his or her explanations and directions.
Sometimes we can hear an instruction over and over again and it doesn’t register, but if we see a picture or read something that emphasizes the same instruction, it suddenly clicks.
Finally, I recommend that you do periodically try to take a class, just because it is always useful to be around a live person who can give feedback about alignment and make specific suggestions about ways to enhance your practice.