Posted by: Yoga in Borve | January 5, 2017

Why do yoga at home?

My last post was about how to develop a home yoga practice.  The day after I’d posted it online, it occurred to me I hadn’t mentioned WHY you might want to practice yoga at home.  Obviously, people who do yoga at home, or want to, know why they think it’s a good idea.  But what if it’s never occurred to you to do yoga at home yourself, and you’re not sure if it’s worth the bother?  This post is for you.

There are many and varied reasons for practising yoga at home. Some of the reasons to do yoga at home are the same as the reasons to do yoga in general – and some are specific to home yoga Yoga room Jul 16practice. I jotted down my own reasons, which I’ll list below, and then I’ll share what some of the folk who come to my classes told me about why they do a home practice.

I have a home yoga practice for these reasons:

  • Owning my yoga! Yoga is the glue that holds me together and the WD40 which keeps me working as smoothly as possible. I have scoliosis and without yoga I’d probably be in chronic pain by now. I certainly wouldn’t be able to move as freely and comfortably as I do. For me, it is a no-brainer to have a regular, consistent yoga practice which I am confident to take responsibility for – it’s not dependent on any particular class, teacher, piece of equipment or locale.
  • Progress and wellbeing. If you do yoga frequently and regularly (that doesn’t mean it has to be intensive or long sessions) you make more noticeable and satisfying progress than if you only do yoga once a week, or erratically. I feel better (physically, mentally and emotionally) if I’m doing yoga regularly.
  • Financial. No class/travel costs. I couldn’t afford to pay a teacher every day for the rest of my life…I appreciate going to classes, workshops and retreats to learn from other teachers Yoga in Borve gardenwhenever I am able to, but it’s nice not to have to.
  • Saves time. The time spent booking a class, travelling to it, doing the class, getting yourself sorted out at the start and packing up afterwards, means one 90 minute class could actually take three hours.  That’s a whole week’s home practice, if you break it down into six half hour sessions – which you could do each day at a time of your own choosing. My personal ideal is going to one yoga class a week and practising at home the rest of the time.
  • Choice/control. Feeling tired? Do restorative poses or a gentle flow. Energy to burn? Do a strong, vigorous practice. Particular poses you want to work on, or areas of the body which need eased out or strengthened, styles of yoga you want to try? You can pick what you want to do rather than fit in with the theme of a large general class (of course, that’s also one of the joys of private one-to-one tuition!). I also love choosing whether I’ll practise in silence or to music, and if so what kind of music I want to play.
  • Peace. I enjoy doing yoga with others who love yoga.  I value having the expert guidance of a teacher. But I also relish doing yoga alone and unwitnessed. It can be an oasis of quiet time in a busy day spent almost constantly with other people.

crow-sept-16Why do YOU do yoga at home?!’

Last August I asked this question of the people who come to my classes and also do yoga at home. I loved reading the responses – they were articulate, moving, funny and varied.  So I’ve kept them as much as possible in people’s own words.  I’ve edited and moved stuff around only enough to protect people’s privacy.

“You definitely see the difference made by a few sessions a week at home. I work on particular sequences/asanas between classes to improve on them – things I enjoy, or focusing on a weak area, or things I aspire to.”

“I find it difficult to commit to booking classes as there always seems to be something getting in the way, so if I was relying on classes I would hardly do any yoga!  When I do get to classes, I enjoy them more because I’m more familiar with setups & alignment & names of moves, and if needed, my own preferred modifications which I’ve worked out at home.  I gain more benefit from fine-tuning cues from the teacher as the basics have become routine. The communal feel of a class is even more enjoyable and novel when most of my yoga has been done at home alone.”

“I do yoga at home to de-stress, especially after a long day at work….also to reinforce my understanding and to give myself time to think about postures etc. I like to put on music and turn my yoga into something more dance-y/flowy/free expression-y just for fun … it might not be very ‘pure’ yoga, but it makes me feel good!”

pregnancy yoga“I am continually learning about my own limitations and abilities – you have more time to explore these aspects at home working at your own pace.  I love the amazement when I can suddenly do something because I have been working away at it for a long time, a few times a week.”

“I feel better physically and mentally after a yoga session. In periods of stress, it becomes a lovely time-out from the stress and helps to restore positivity.  It helps me stay flexible – I need an almost daily session to keep the wheels moving!  It maintains and improves my strength and is a good warm up for a run/jog. In winter it is a great way to fill that rather dead hour between 5 and 6pm when it has got dark too early!”

“I started doing yoga regularly at home after speaking to you when you were teaching a class. I asked you about doing Downward Dog while taking medication for blood pressure. You brought in ‘Yoga as Medicine’, showed me the chapter relating to blood pressure and loaned me the book. I ordered my own copy and since then make a point of completing these yoga moves every morning, plus a few others for balance, and some floor ones as well. My reasons for doing this and attending classes are to maintain a healthy body and stay as fit as possible as I am an active person by nature and recognise I need to work at it. I also do Tai Chi and follow Headspace [a meditation programme].”

“I do a mix of yoga and pilates at home because I enjoy doing it, the peace and solitude and focus for that period of time.  It helps motivate me for other things, particularly a morningyoga on jetty session – no question, it’s the best way to start the day.”

“Wow, well, I don’t know where to begin! There are so many reasons to develop a home practice. For me, health-wise it has helped ease constant dull backache, if I don’t do yoga my back soon tells me. I also do it to strengthen my bones, especially good as one gets older, menopausal, etc. I do it to quieten my mind, even though I don’t have a hectic pressurised job any more, it’s wonderful to focus just on your practice. Unlike going to the gym, yoga is more flexible (pardon the pun) and your home practice can reflect your physical or mental mood: slow, gentle and flowing, or energetic and challenging. The hardest part of starting to practice at home is to make time, if you say ‘oh I’ll fit it in sometime today’, you never do. You need to set a time, make an appointment with yourself just like going to class, it then become routine. For me morning is best, it sets me up for the day and I don’t feel good if I don’t do it.”

“To begin with I practised yoga at home because it was convenient. It still is for that reason as my work load and location doesn’t allow me to attend classes as much as I’d like. But it is now so much more. It allows me to return to my true self on a daily basis! I find real freedom in practising by myself as it give me opportunities to explore and develop the other areas of yoga (8 limbs), as well as the postures. I find aspects of yoga such as pratyahara, dharana and dhyana are more achievable in a personal space (not always!).”

“I like home practice because you can listen to music to vary it. You can inspire people you love, friends and family, by just practising yourself – they engage with yoga by the smell of the incense, the glow of candles and the calmness of the space.”

strathpeffer-july-15“I have found that yoga has helped me cope with the stiffness and muscular discomfort that has now become a part of my life.  There is no doubt that the morning after a session in the studio I feel less tightness and pain. The mornings are bad for me, having tightened up overnight and having been sleep deprived because of it.  I have to pace myself during the day so I do stretching exercises in bed then stretch and balance when I get up, then I walk with my dog for an hour, then throughout the day I fit in a few minutes of downward dog and triangle poses, etc. Then another hour’s dog walk in the afternoons. Downward dog at the sink while doing the vegetables, balance when brushing my teeth and more stretching when I get into bed! I know this is not conventional practice but it does help prevent the stiffness throughout the day. Evenings are an area I will have to address as when I sit for long my hips just close up. So I get up and down like a jack in the box if I can.”

“When you do a home practice, you can take it everywhere with you – your home, a friend’s house, on holiday, out on the shore at sunset, on the Meadows in Edinburgh to escape the Festival crowds…just to return to your Self.”

“I do yoga at home because along with walking, it’s my favourite form of exercise. I want to do it more than just the once a week class. I like it because I can choose to do only 5 or 10 minutes or 30 minutes. I like practising the poses I enjoy as well as maybe 1 or 2 new or more challenging ones we’ve done in the class. I like my home yoga practice because it’s a good antidote to sitting at my desk, it’s easy to roll out my mat and do it and I always feel better mentally and physically after I’ve done it.”

“I do yoga at home to wake myself up, get blood flowing to all parts of my body, keep my spine in shape (hopefully to avoid more disc problems in future), to start the day well and to reduce stress.”

“Yoga makes me physically and psychologically feel better thus more able to deal calmly with life’s general fast pace & its never ending ups and downs. Regular yoga practise helps staffin-sept-15-3address stiffness (I would go as far as saying it keeps stiffness at bay but each individual is different); improves weakness in joints and muscles e.g. ‘frozen shoulder’, stiff hips, sore knee; increases flexibility, e.g. you can more easily stretch to open high kitchen cupboards; improves balance thus increases confidence lost as part of the ageing process, e.g. stops wobbling and fear when crossing burns; helps build stamina, e.g. by holding simple poses for an increasingly longer time; helps build strength in various areas of your body so your walking ability (duration) and other physical activities benefit; helps maintain a steady weight, e.g. regular practise tones muscles; general health is improved, e.g. better resistance to lurgies & if you do get one it is nowhere near as drastic as pre-yoga days!;  overall fitness improves, e.g. I can again lift 15kg bags of animal feed.”

“Since taking up yoga regularly I now very rarely take medication for an acid/reflux stomach. Yoga enables you to take responsibility and control of your daily physical (and mental) well-being; it helps you to be as good as you can be whatever your age.”

“I practise yoga at home to do something nice for my body, which I tend to dislike for letting me down by being ill all the time.  I do it to help me stay supple and strong – and for the upstairs-yoga-aug-15longer term, to be strong with good feet, hips, and back when I’m elderly. To encourage myself to practise, I leave my yoga mat lying out in the living room where it is misused by all, including animals!”

“Practising yoga has developed my flexibility, focus and reaction times. It also helps put issues into perspective so they stop being alarming; at times of stress or high anxiety basic yoga breathing such as focusing on counting your breath, in for say 4 and out for 4, has a wonderful calming and focusing effect. I was near hyperventilating due to an intense emotional situation earlier this year and used the breathing whilst on a train journey and it worked a treat. Yoga feeds your sense of positivity thus helps your happiness levels; as you feel fitter you are more motivated to do more thus feel more positive – a virtual circle of positivity! Holding and focusing on yoga poses even for a few breaths has a knock on effect of increasing focus in other areas of your life, such as improved concentration when working on various tasks; and yoga teaches you it’s ok to accept your limitations. Finally, it’s great fun wobbling about on one leg with arms crossed in a pose you may never master but that’s ok as it’s not about yoga perfection but what is right for you.”

“I practise yoga at home to slow down and breathe, to have some time for myself, to reconnect with all the small muscles and to stretch.”

So, there we have it. If you’ve not tried doing yoga at home before, I hope this post might inspire you to give it a go (see my last post for tips on how to establish a home practice). If you already do yoga at home and would like to add your reasons to the list, please put them in the comments below – I’d love to read them!

Nb – the pics in this post are mostly from towards the end of some of my own personal practice sessions. Obviously I don’t usually have a photographer on standby while I practise yoga – ugh! But every so often I ask my husband to take a pic, sometimes so I can see my alignment in a particular pose and sometimes because I need a photo to illustrate something. 

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Responses

  1. […] and walking, and ideally weekly pilates and swimming too. Earlier this year, when I wrote the post Why do yoga at home? the very first reason on my personal list […]


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