Home Yoga Practice vs. Taking a Class
Updated: Aug 31, 2019
When I first started doing yoga over a decade ago, I had no idea how to get started. I tried a number of classes just to dabble, and I can’t say I really loved any of them. I would often want to hold some stretches longer but felt I had to keep up with the class. Some poses just didn’t feel good but I did them anyway. I continued like that for years, but I never really fell in love with doing Yoga until I started practicing by myself at home.
There are so many things I love about my home yoga practice, and while I still go to one or two classes a week, I really prefer my own sessions. The classes are great for giving me ideas for flows and asanas I want to revisit and practice on my own, plus since I’m a stay-at-home mom my yoga class is kind of like my social hour too, and I definitely enjoy that aspect of the class environment. But as far as actually enjoying the practice itself, my at-home sessions feel far more beneficial - even if they’re just 10 minutes!
I get to involve my kids (and sometimes my husband!)
I want my kids to enjoy the pleasures that come from regular yoga practice, or any physical activity they enjoy. I love setting a healthy example for them by showing them first hand how I take time to take care of myself and my body. Plus, they will often join in! Which is the best part! Even my husband, who you would never catch in a yoga studio, will do some highly beneficial stretches with me - he feels great after! Check out this post for more on involving your kids in yoga.
I can choose the session length
First, I don’t always feel like I necessarily need to do a full hour of yoga - I get bored and I find it exhausting! I do yoga to give myself more energy for my very demanding day, not take away from it. After some classes, I am positively pooped and don’t have the energy to run after my three little kids, clean the house or you know, occasionally make dinner. Honestly, anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes a day is great for me.
I pick the time
Practicing yoga at home is also great for me because I can do it (sort of) whenever I want! Of course, as a busy, stay-at-home mother of three the term “whenever I want” is subjective, but it helps to not have to stick to the studio’s schedule of classes (aka, schlepping in 10 minutes late while everyone’s meditating because I couldn’t find two of my kids’ other shoe).
I’m in charge of the flow
I’ve taken a lot of different yoga classes with a lot of great instructors, but only one of them ever asked the yogis attending the class what their bodies needed that day. Sometimes I could really use some good hip openers or shoulder stretches, and I don’t always get my individual needs addressed in a group class setting. I like having control over what body part I’m going to work that day, and what type of inversion I need at the end of class without looking like a yoga “rebel” to everyone else in the room. Check out my beginner flow here.
I wear what I want
I love just working out in a sports bra and leggings, but wouldn’t necessarily feel so comfortable dressing so minimally out in a public setting. Especially when it’s cold out.
I get to set the atmosphere
I have this perfect little spot for doing yoga in my new house with tons of windows. I don’t always want to actually be outside to practice, but it’s nice to have space where I can bring nature indoors. I feel more peaceful. It’s much more enjoyable than a studio session.
There’s no comparing
I try not to compare my flexibility or other yoga abilities to those around me, but sometimes it’s hard not to - especially in a crowded class and they are right up next to you. I feel more comfortable embracing where I am in my practice when I’m at home.
I can go matless
Not bra-less, people - matless - i.e. doing yoga directly on my hardwood floors. The floors in my home might not always sparkle, but when they do I love to go matless in my at-home sessions - which is not something I would want to do in a studio where dozens of strangers bare feet are meeting the ground below me on a daily basis. There are lots of perks to going matless with your practice, I particularly feel that I can grip the ground better in stretching positions like downward facing dog and wide-legged forward fold.
I can use videos
If I don’t feel like thinking about my flow and which pose I want to do next, there are tons of free yoga videos available on YouTube. There are great ones meant to be used with your kids too! Fun for everyone.
I can do bed yoga
If you haven’t tried it, you should. I always sleep better after bed yoga! There are tons of seated or laying-down positions you can do in your bed to relax your body and mind and prepare for a night’s rest.
I can meditate for as long as I want
Probably my favorite part of any of my yoga sessions is the end of session “nap” or meditation time spent in savasana. I’ve had too many yoga instructors cut this time short on me and I can’t stay because another class is coming in after. I like a good 10-15 minutes here and at home, I can take as long as I want. I mean, again this is a relative statement for moms.
What do you think?
Overall, I mostly enjoy doing yoga at home but will testify that a good class with an instructor you value can be great too. If you have tried classes and didn’t like them, don’t swear off your yoga practice! Try a different class because they can be SO different. Try a video at home! Get a good yoga book and pick a few poses for yourself. Check out some of the flows right here on my blog!
Do you prefer to practice yoga at home or in the studio? Why?