Home Practice: Time to Take the Plunge
It feels like it’s breathing down my neck, this pandemic. Thankfully, my immediate friends, family and I are all safe. I feel deeply, though, for the world’s hotspots, especially my native U.S. And, I’m aware that my protected status could change at any time. Similar to the danger of bushfires that can be transformed capriciously by a shift in the wind. This virus can attack us as a result of contact with a sick person, at any time or place.
So it is that in this uncertain period, I depend more than ever on my yoga practice. I am blessed to have developed a dependable yoga practice over forty-nine years.
I started practising yoga at home in the period after my son was born. My post-natal period was a time of upheaval and insecurity for me as a new mother. But my yoga practice was there for me as a refuge and place for self-nurturance.
We modern yogis are fortunate to have countless resources at our fingertips. Even in the lockdown, when we haven’t been able to get to public classes, there have been a plethora of videos and audio recordings.
I assert, though, that there is nothing like doing a home practice.
For one thing, it’s simple: you only need a few yoga props, a space, some time and a loose plan. Your plan might come from what you’ve gleaned from yoga classes or from following a book. It’s ideal to work with a book rather than with video or audio aids, The book’s words and images will translate your experience into a ‘felt’ sense of body and mind.
In the quiet, less competitive atmosphere of your home, you can easily feel how your body and mind are functioning. You can check in to see how you are going without the distraction of other students or even a teacher. You can assess your own needs, read your mood and then tailor your practice to suit you.
At any given time, you might be feeling energetic and want to do a dynamic practice. Or, maybe you’re menstruating and want to do a restorative practice. This careful observation of what your individual needs are––post-natal or current pandemic––is at the heart of practising yoga.
‘The Classic Teach Yourself Yoga’
I’ve written a book, ‘Teach Yourself Yoga’, to help students bridge the gap between attending classes and establishing a yoga routine at home. I did this because I’ve experienced that home practice promotes coming home to yourself. To reconnect with your own rhythms, to centre yourself is exactly what we need in today’s stressful and unsure times.
Like a little more encouragement about the benefits of a personal practice? Read this guest post from Angelika Knorzer, a many-decades practitioner and former student of mine.