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We’ve all seen (and even posted) super-posed yoga shots. You know the ones: Perhaps you’re meditating on your Airbnb’s impossibly plush rug (when really, you meditated in bed and staged that photo), or you’re effortlessly holding Mermaid in front of the Caribbean sea (even though it took you 10 minutes and three people to help you into the posture).
These shots are gorgeous. We all love them. But for most of us, they bear little resemblance to what our practice really looks like. Which, let’s be honest, is more hot and sweaty than sultry, and usually involves us still in pajamas with a toddler or pet trying to get in on the yoga fun.
With this in mind, we asked top yoga teachers to share photos of what their “real” home practice looks like when they’re not on a set with a professional photographer, or taking time to stage a picture-perfect shot, then asking their Instagram husband to take 37 options. Turns out what they delivered shows us their practice is actually a lot like ours: kids and dogs included.
Rachel Brathen, a.k.a. @yoga_girl
“For me, yoga looks different every single day. Usually I practice on my kitchen floor while my baby girl, Lea Luna, runs around playing and the dogs stop by to lick my face. Sometimes it’s a morning vinyasa flow at my home studio in Aruba, or a few stolen moments on the mat when Luna is napping and I’m between work meetings. Lately, I’ve been waking up at 5 a.m. to journal, meditate, and move my body outside in my garden before the sun rises. This time to myself before the baby wakes up has become such a sacred part of my self-care routine. However my daily practice shows up, I’m grateful for this practice that brings me home again and again, on and off my mat.”
Amy Ippoliti, co-founder and CEO of 90 Monkeys
“My practice is erratic. It’s not as ample as I would like. Some days, I get nostalgic for my younger body that could do so much more. Most days, I am humbled and grateful that I can do even this much, which is a lot! Every time I practice I am grateful for my life and those I love. My practice often centers on the sun peeking up over the horizon. Practicing fills up my spiritual bank account. When life throws me curveballs, I make a withdrawal.”
Sarah Platt-Finger, CEO, ISHTA Yoga
“My yoga practice is a non-negotiable. Every morning, I get on my mat shortly after I wake up and I breathe, move, and meditate. The question for me is not whether or not I will get my practice in, but who will be on the mat practicing with me? We have a cat and a dog who love to sit on my mat as soon as I sit still and close my eyes. Sometimes my daughter will join me as well. Sometimes I sit with all three of them there. Sometimes I have to move someone to another spot. My routine is rarely uninterrupted, but I like to think that my mind has become accustomed to dealing with them so that even the interruptions become part of the practice. Because the truth is: Life is filled with distractions, and it’s not so much how to avoid them, but how to make them all part of elevating your consciousness.”
Kino MacGregor, international yoga teacher and co-founder of Miami Life Center
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from 20 years of practice it’s this: just practice. Be honest, transparent, persistent, consistent, and kind. Show up on your mat when you’re tired, energized, happy, sad, whatever. Practice changes the way you think and feel—and because of that, it literally changes your world. Sometimes people think they have to go out and do something extraordinary to change the world. If it’s in your heart, go for it. And if not, I personally think it’s extraordinary enough to devote a little time each day to your practice, because when you practice you shine a little bit brighter. By clearing your mind, opening your heart, and loving your body, you are in fact contributing to the evolution of the planet in a small but immensely meaningful way.”
Rina Jakubowicz, founder of Rina Yoga
“This photo depicts my first attempt at practicing yoga after healing from a labrum tear in my shoulder caused by playing tennis the wrong way. It’s been 5 months off the mat, which has been painful mentally, emotionally, and physically, but I figured for my first time on the mat, I might as well have some fun and not overdo it. Keeping it light, accepting my situation, and knowing that ‘this too shall pass’ has been the way to stay grounded during these challenging months. Practicing at home always has its distractions, whether it be my phone, emails, husband, or dogs. But I’ll choose these two pups as a distraction any day. Meet Roo (the puppy with the blue collar) and her best friend Oprah, who happen to be my satsang (a.k.a. community).” Click here to see the full video.
Leah Cullis, author, teacher, and holistic health coach
“As a mom with a toddler, I feel like I have 20 percent of the time I used to have. I don’t even use my yoga mat in my home practice these days. I use my daughter’s large play mat and practice in shorter increments as we roll around. I meld my practice with our play. I’m letting my practice evolve with my life and being gentle on myself in the process. When I allow it to be fluid and light, I create that same energy off my mat.”
Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine
“My real practice is showing up to my mat and tuning in to what my body needs. Sometimes that’s movement, sometimes it’s stillness, sometimes it’s something else entirely. Right now, we’re doing a lot of work on our house, so my practice is often about slowing down and finding a small space to roll out my mat. Even just short practices are potent ways to tap into my nourishment for the day, in whatever form that takes.”
Larissa Hall Carlson, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist
“While many of my social media posts show the fun and glamorous side of being a traveling yoga teacher, the truth is all that travel and high-energy output can be depleting and vata-deranging! My real daily practice focuses on kriya (cleansing techniques), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation. Traditional techniques, like nauli kriya (belly churning) and nadi shodhana (alternate-nostril breath), keep my digestion steady, my nerves calm, and my head on straight. They’re my daily “non-negotiable” yoga practices, and I do them no matter where I am in the world—even if I only have 15 minutes to do a short set.
“While sitting quietly with eyes closed and attention inward, external factors like outfits and hairstyles disappear. It’s an opportunity to ground, center, and deeply connect before mindfully attending to the tasks of the day. At home in the early morning, I dive into quiet practice alone; but whenever I start pranayama, my puppy, Bodhi, always mysteriously knows, and comes in with a bone or a toy to get my attention. It’s precious—and sometimes challenging. Many mornings, I submit to holding his bone while he chews it, just so I can keep him calm while doing some deep breathing. When I start meditation, he finally rests at my side. Everyone faces daily practice challenges, but when committing to techniques that deeply support life, health, and a continued deepening of the path, there’s always a way.”
What does your home yoga practice REALLY look like? Please share your pics @yogajournal using the hashtag #NoFilterYoga.
About the Author
Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman is a freelance writer and editor based in NYC. She has been a contributor to YogaJournal.com since 2013.