Thank you Jason. It has been about 3 years since I have actively practiced. Your article has encouraged me to get back to the mat. Thanks.
I have been doing home practise for a long time.
I can hold the pose as long as I want to. I can experiment on the techniques- to stretch more or
turn the bodyup slightly etc. I love doing it.
In my opinion, if you are self motivated there is no subsittute to a home practice. There are no distractions and there is silence if you need it. You can get very deep into your inner self. I have been doing it for two decades or so with fabulous results.
For me, it's the classes I dread! I don't do a ton of yoga, but 20 minutes every morning, as facilitated by an instructor I like on a dvd I own, makes me start the day that much better. It all adds up to help get my energy going, stretch, relax and center, and still helps me maintain an overall state of health and fitness. I'm no yoga hardbody, but I'm happier and I make it work for me and my life!
Jason, thanks for your honesty! For me, the discoveries of a home practice begin before I roll out my mat. I notice the struggle, the resistance, the expectations. Then I laugh at myself and do it anyway--most of the time. That judge on my shoulder is tough. It helps me to hear you let go of the "perfect practice" and engage in whatever your practice might be on any given day into life as it is--complete with TV or NPR. Whatever gets you onto the mat and into yourSelf. YUM.
Alice, thanks for the Ricahrd Hittleman recommendation. Can anyone else recommend other books on sequences for home practice for a beginner like me? Thank you.
Hi Jason, thanks so much for this excellent article. I am using it in a series class I'm teaching on how to create a home practice. So many students are looking for direction in this, and your article addresses a lot of their concerns. Thank you!
I make it a practise to do yoga poses and all the stretches at least twice a week by myself and attend 2 classes a week. I am in love with yoga and thoroughly enjoy it. I have been practising yoga for a long time -may be 15 years- and still I learn new things often. I could easily do headstand and shoulderstand in the middle of the room. but now I can do those near a wall only.Old age! I am 81.
I started yoga in a class about a year ago and i loved it, devoted two days a week to going, rain or shine...even snow. but for the past 6 months due to work schedual changes I have not been able to get to class and I do not like to do my practices at home...there are too many "distractions"...like I have to vacume before i practice because the floor is so filthy. plus I'm always compairing my home practice to class and feel i cheat to much. the little monkey says I don't hold my poses long enough, or I dont do enough repititions...so even tho i set aside 30 mins to practice, I end the session in 15 mins and feel like i have failed. or even easier....just dont vacume and then i can't practice!
I find the concept of dreading a home practice very ironic, as when I started there were NO classes in my area at all, so I had no options. I first found yoga on PBS with Lilias Folan. As there were no classes, I followed that up with books, the first one being by Richard Hittleman, which offered a good 26 day practice plan.
Then I found the Sivananda companion book, which, I realized many years later, is an excellent book on all facets of yoga. I hadn't looked at the book in years though, when I found it again - when I took the Sivananda teacher's training course. It seems that Sivananda was knocking on my door for a long time before I opened it up, thankfully.
I have really enjoyed attending classes over the years - even when you teach and have a personal practice, it's fun sometimes to just let someone else do the planning, and you just do the yoga. But I do love my home practice. I get to explore and go at my own speed. Sometimes in the evening I get serenaded by coyotes out back, and they always make me smile.
It's just funny how our experiences can begin so differently, but merge with a real love for and appreciation of yoga.