Home Practice vs. Studio Practice
Your home practice will NEVER be the same as your studio practice. It just isn't possible to practice alone and expect the same results. Rather than try to mimic the studio experience, here a
An obvious up-side to a home practice is the virtually free cost. Just because you're not paying, doesn't mean that your experience can't be enhanced by other free tools such as youtube, podcasts Yoga Journal Magazine, and library books.
Studio bills can get a bit pricey. However, be sure to look for Karma classes, pay-what-you-can or donation classes. Most communities offer them. This allows you the opportunity, even if it is only once a week to practice alongside others, receive fresh ideas from teachers, listen to alignment cues, and evaluate your own progress. Some locations also offer trade programs, service in exchange for classes.
Sometimes the cost per class seems like something we just can't afford. And there are plenty of times that is true, just please don't dismiss yoga as "being too expensive." Yoga teachers spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours training, and most of them never stop investing time and money to further their training. They put in hours developing their sequences, their playlists and their understanding of the human body, anatomy, and alignment. They read books upon books about the ancient texts, nutrition, diet, ayurveda, and more. When you think of what a doctor, psychologist, or nutritionist charges... it may be worth it to evaluate if we can redirect some of our finances towards being proactive about the state of our mind, body and soul.
Many practitioners come to the practice of yoga looking for a tribe of like-minded beings. Sometimes this happens quickly and easily, sometimes it takes a bit of time and effort. There are times where I feel incredibly connected, and others where it feels incredibly forced, but there's something beautiful about both. A quick chat with my neighbor a few months ago helped me to find a brand of skin care that has been an absolute game changer for me. We may not be besties, but that simple exchange has brought me tremendous relief.
A home practice is isolated. You are alone. This does take the pressure off. You don't have to think twice about how oily your hair is, the state of your skin, your weight or your outfit. You don't have to worry about what your breathing sounds like, or how many times you have to stop and take a break. Being around others that are capable of performing more advanced asanas that you, can be utterly exhausting, discouraging, and frustrating. Practicing alone allows us to focus on our own development, it allows us time to process our own energy and not be influenced by others. Just be careful not to get too caught up in your comfort zone. Being around others, can be a really good motivator, and sometimes it can remind us to appreciate the fact that we are capable of things that others aren't.
Practicing from home means less time commuting, win! But how much time should we devote towards our home practice? Should it be 60, 75 or 90 minutes just like it is at the studio?
Most likely, you will realize your practice goes much faster at home than it does when someone else is cueing you. Watching videos, using music or times can help to satisfy this. It also just takes practice. The beauty is, you don't have to practice for ANY specific amount of time. You may choose to incorporate movement into your entire day, for example, I love to spend 30 minutes moving between child's pose and some others when I first wake up. I leave my phone on snooze as a signal to change positions, or wake me if I dozed off! When I find myself waiting for the microwave, I do a few sun salutations.
In the beginning, your home practice will not provide you with the same WOW factor that being in a studio does. You may not practice as long, or push yourself as hard. You may skip savasana and become overwhelmed by the noise of your own thoughts. Just remember THAT is part of the practice. Yoga is about creating unity and any step we take, whether under the instruction of a teacher, video, book, or under own innate care, we are furthering ourselves in our journey towards oneness, and towards our Higher Self.
Set reasonable goals for yourself and watch with time as your practice evolves, both in and out of the studio.