When I started practicing yoga, I did it at home.
There wasn’t a class on every corner like there is today.
But the main reason I did it is that even the idea of going to a class made me feel ridiculous. And when I think I might feel ridiculous, I don’t like my trial run of it to be in front of either people.
I wish I could be braver — and maybe I am a bit these days. But when I’m being really honest with myself, I know that I vastly prefer to have at least the slightest comfort/knowledge of something before doing it with/in front of others.
As I continued practicing at home, I started slowly gathering information about how I felt (physically and emotionally). This was absolutely critical for me, a gal who never got that kind of bodily info from sports or the like because, well, sports + I are not a good match.
(Although I was, somehow, on my high school golf team. But that’s a story for another day.)
Because I was still in that space of uncertainty about proceeding to a group class, I really got to take my time. I felt free to experiment because I was unafraid of making a fool of myself. I tried things I never would have if I’d thought someone else would see me.
In other words, I had the amazing experience of building up the confidence that I could do yoga. That, yeah, this body can do yoga — no prob.
I’m convinced that this critical home practice time built a platform for me to venture into classes I might not otherwise have tried. This gave me the opportunity to really soak up everything I learned as I began taking classes, workshops and, eventually, teacher training because I already knew how my body felt on the mat and what I wanted from my practice.
Wait: There’s More!
In addition to all this, I even got some more benefits (hard to believe, I know!).
- Feeling Good: There’s not much better than this, right? My home practice helped me develop the skills to use visualization to reduce the intensity and duration of my migraines. It also helped me feel g-o-o-d at the end of the day, stretching and moving away any tension I was holding (and it was always a lot — still is some days!).
- Improved Health: I already mentioned the migraines (and that alone was priceless for me because I had, almost literally, tried everything else possible). But I also saw improvements in my digestion, which has been an on-again/off-again issue for me my whole life. I think slowing down and all those twists helped with that.
- Reduced Stress: Think my health issues had anything to do with stress? I didn’t. That is, until I learned how to calm the heck down through yoga and saw them slowly melt away — and/or not throw me completely into a rabbit hole of misery, despair and woe-is-me.
- Inner Listening: Yoga asks us to get still and see what comes up. This is so not my favorite task, especially when I’m spinning out into some internal drama. But home practice made it possible for me to engage because it held space for me, myself and I.
How to Get Started
If you’re reading this and thinking some variation of “Dang, I really need a home yoga practice.” Or, like me, “Yep; it’s time for me to re-start my home yoga practice,” I hope you’ll give it a whirl. It is a truly powerful experience.
And if you’d like some guidance rooted in radical self-kindness, I’d love for you to join me and the lovely Marianne Elliott for 30 Days of Curvy Yoga. We created this course as the love letter we wish we’d received when we first started practicing — tips and encouragement for creating a practice that works for the actual you. Not the fantasy you that wakes us at 5:00am for 2 hours of yoga and meditation before beginning a blissful, stress-free day. But the you who has 7 minutes today and 23 minutes tomorrow for yoga, and hey — you’re taking it.
It’s also for the you who wants some pose options that were created specifically for folks with curves. The video that accompanies the course is intended to show you several different options for some go-to poses. Once you practice through a few times, you can begin mixing and matching based on your needs — which is, after all, what yoga is all about.
To learn more about the course, please click here. Registration ends this Saturday (May 12) and (in good news for you instant gratification folks like me) we’re starting on Monday (May 14).
If you’ve got any questions, please get in touch. We’d love for you to be part of this! It promises to be a wonderful time of exploration and transformation as you create your own tailor-made practice.