As in, I’m doomed! I’ve moved/changed jobs/changed schedules/hit the beach and thus face this sentence of torture and death, that is, yoga practice in my own home or hotel room, all by myself!
I feel your fear of a BS, doomed to hell practice. Four years ago, facing a life of home practice after moving away from any ashtanga program scared me. I thought I might quit, and worse: for a time, after I got going, I thought I might just never progress. Now, after more than four years largely solo practicing in a bedroom, home practice is the gift I never knew I wanted.
I believe — no, I know — you can make that home practice not only real, but rule. Here are twenty physical, emotional, logistical and olfactory reasons to embrace your doom and fall in love home practice:
- You can practice rain or shine, from Snowpocalypse to really nice days – so nice you don’t want to get in the car days, to tsunami…well, ok, maybe there are some limits. The wonderful thing about having an established home practice is that when the snowplows come rolling in, or when you just don’t feel like getting in your car, you’ve got no reason to miss out on practice.
- You can practice whenever you want. Studio schedule? Who cares! You are no longer a slave to someone else’s hours. You can practice whenever convenient for you: Before work. After work. While the kids are at school, when the kids are off from school, holidays, vacation days, stuck at your in-laws days . . . whenever you can make it happen. So you can make it happen (ideally, and most easily, at the same time everyday).
- You’ll never be locked out of the studio for being late. Though you might miss a deadline, if you squeeze your practice in too close to work.
- You can go long, or you can go short.
- You can play party music. Yes, you can. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not saying it’s ok. But you make it any way you can. I’m just saying, when you really want to, you can. You can play it really loud, too. You can play Rihanna singing about S&M. I mean, not that I would ever do that, but, when you need a boost…. (I won’t tell the yoga police if you don’t).
- You don’t have to carry that unwieldy yoga mat around. When I head to the Mysore room in SLC I look like I’m about to thru-hike hike the Pacific Crest Trail or serve as Sherpa up to the summit of Everest. Indeed, heading out to the studio means bundling your yoga ass up in all those clothes, then strapping that mat on your back, not to mention lugging all the post-yoga clothes and a towel, keys. . . did I mention the mat? With home practice I don’t bag anything but the bags.
- You don’t have to wonder about where you left your yoga mat. Was it the bus? That studio? This studio? Mine is rolled up nice and safe (albeit chewed up by the dog) right at home.
- You can find your inner teacher. You need a teacher, in my opinion. You cannot do everything alone and for crissakes you shouldn’t have to. But to make this work I have to be my teacher too, and in taking this on, I have made use of my phone. Yes, sometimes — a lot of times — you need to keep it sacred, quiet and video free. But other times? That video serves as the translator, turning me into simultaneous student and teacher. I watch back video of the poses I am trying to figure out; I analyze them and work with myself the way I imagine my teacher would work with me. Yes, occasionally, I screw around. But I also do the work.
- You can discover the power is in you, not coming from the outside. I remember being a runner and feeling this wonderful gift in knowing that no matter where I was I could throw on sneakers and be in my own beautiful zone. Why should yoga, which requires nothing more than your body, be any different? You have all the ingredients. Yes, see a teacher for guidance and inspiration — this is invaluable, and for me, non-negotiable. But don’t devalue yourself.
- You can wear whatever you want, including that wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.
- You may be home, but you are not alone. There is no alone. Someone, somewhere, is inhaling and exhaling at the same moment you are. There is no alone. You have a community of fellow yoga practitioners, home practitioners, and let’s hope you have a teacher to reach out to and studio you visit. You do much of your work alone, perhaps, but that intimate asana inquiry is made by and for the grace of connections with others. That said,
- You can dance if you want to. Go on– no one’s watching
- You can cry if you want to –go on, no one’s watching
- You can save money. My yoga practice is free except for when I drop in to see my teacher.
- You can save time. The commute to my bedroom is quite convenient.
- You can sleep more. Sleep is underrated.
- You don’t have to endure anyone’s stink but your own. Recently I headed out for yoga and got distracted by the smell of old gym socks. Was it me? No, I have my own shade of stinky and it’s not teenage boy-flavored. But if you’re home alone, if anything or anyone stinks, it’s you (or your dog). Thanks to saving money from your home practice, you can afford some de-stink detergent or new clothes.
- You might just learn more about yourself and your practice than you ever thought possible.
- True yoga is discovered alone. Just ask David Garrigues. The beautiful, fitting irony, for me, is that the more I practice alone, the more I value and seek sincere real connection with others.
- It helps to practice ashtanga. Hey, even Miley Cyrus is doing it.