It's a snowy, gusty day today in New England ... schools and businesses are closed, plows are roaring by and~~what's that?~~the studio has cancelled classes for the rest of the day! What's a yogi to do? Break the glass on your Emergency Home Practice.
Now, I am NOT saying that you should only practice at home when you can't physically get to your favorite group class. Look, I get it: we all have daily routines and group classes provide accountability, a sense of community, and that can't-tickle-yourself surprise of working with a teacher who's always springing something new on you. As a teacher, I thrive on those moments when a room full of connected students is moving and breathing as one. But I also appreciate the sense of freedom and comfort that comes with practicing whatever I damn please in my (other) home.
You probably already know that one of the nicest things about practicing yoga is you don't need a lot of expensive special equipment. You most likely already have your own mat, and I think two blocks are a worthwhile purchase. Foam ones are easy to come by in any sporting goods section or online, but I'm happy that I invested in these cork blocks from Yoloha~~they are more supportive, sustainable, and cleaner than foam.
Having a spot free of clutter will allow you to move around without taking your mind off your movements (ceiling fans can be a hazard~~trust me on that one). You can decide if having pets or loved ones join you. Sometimes what you really need is to drop into your flow and leave the outside world on the other side of a closed door, but once in a while it can be nice to connect with another being during an informal yoga session.
If not having a script seems too daunting at first, you can ease into yoga'ing at home by checking out some audio or video classes~~YouTube is a great place to begin. Each week I join many other teachers by uploading my classes to AudibleYoga.com, where they're made available with lots of others to stream or download and practice whenever, wherever, you'd like. (Well, maybe not outside during a Nor'easter, but you get the idea.) Being able to listen to detailed instruction without having to crane your neck or finagle a complicated video setup makes things easy. Plus Audible Yoga is running an Indiegogo campaign right now to fund a robust app with updated features. Check it out for some unbelievable savings on subscriptions~~and don't forget to tell them I sent ya with my referral code, #18936.
Once you've gotten into the habit of practicing at home, you might choose to go out on your own and do a little freestyling. If you've been doing yoga for a little while you're no doubt familiar with Sun Salutations, so start with those ... either for an entire session or as a warm up to other postures. You know the ones you enjoy working on in class~~whether they delight you or challenge you~~and you can link them together to form a simple flow. Don't worry about fancy sequencing, just pay close attention to how your body feels and remember to do postures on both the right and left sides.
If you're still feeling a little unsure of yourself, by yourself, at home, consider trying a series of private yoga sessions. Take the time to think about what you'd like to get out of your work with a teacher~~a safe return after injury or pregnancy, a deeper dive into certain asana or pranayama, a slower pace ... these are all benefits of working with a teacher to put together your very own home practice. You'll most likely get everything you need to feel confident in your work at home with just a few private classes. And who knows ... you might enjoy the individualized attention so much that you continue working one-on-one.*
Then what? Well, you decide. Working on your own at home will no doubt improve your in-studio practice by giving you more confidence and a deeper understanding of how your body really responds to certain postures. But also consider amping up your home practice. Once you've grasped the basics and you're comfortable rolling out your mat in your dedicated home space, maybe you invest in a special meditation cushion, or an essential oil diffuser. If I can't be there to help you further relax into your savasana with my gentle aromatherapy massage, at least you can create your own little fragrant oasis ... with exactly the scent you need, in the place you feel most at home (pun most certainly intended).
*If you're interested in working with me outside of the studio I have a neat offer to celebrate Valentine's Day this month: sign up for a three-class package with a friend or loved one and you'll each get a bottle of my own Aphrodisia essential oil blend! Click here to get started :)