I started off doing yoga 4 and half years ago solely as a home practitioner. I liked it, I did exactly what I needed to do for my body and I learnt many invaluable lessons about my body and mind during that time. It was what I needed during a very low point in my depression and from that I could begin to heal. A year after I started I was brave enough to start going to 1 class a week. I was so incredibly nervous going to that class but by then yoga was such an ingrained part of my life that taking the class wasn’t much different from following a DVD. Plus I was in a room with people (not that anyone talked to me much) and it gave me a boost to “come out” as a yogi.
I went to that class for a year and a half before the limitations of the teacher got too much and I left for a different studio. It got to a point where the class was something I dreaded and it put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
The new studio has a monthly fee for unlimited classes, so I feel it is worth my while to go to more than one class a week. The problem is I find taking classes quite draining. I’m so stubborn I find it hard to give control of my beloved practice to someone else, who may not sequence the poses I want, when I want. I am working on some quite “advanced” backbends in my home practice, among other things, and time at a class is time that I can’t be working on those. Plus what if I want to rest, or go faster, or just stop altogether?
On the other hand I have met a load of people at those yoga classes, no bosom buddies yet but a few I can small talk with. This is huge for me and would be impossible in my little lonesome attic studio. I have started work on poses- mainly inversions- after doing them in classes. I get new ideas and encouragement from classes. Plus going means I will get my 90 minute practice in guaranteed. That is fantastic, especially on days when I can’t be bothered sequencing myself.
I know that I am in a tiny minority (some of the teachers publicly admit to not having a home practice which I find quite shocking), to most of the people there that room where they go to do yoga is the only place in the world where they do yoga. Yoga is in that room and nowhere else. I do find it strange, if I’m honest with my judgmental self.
So my dilemma is, do I schedule days when I go to classes, and days when I home practice? Do I go with the flow (risking the classes getting the most of energy and the home days being when I have to rest, thus being the “dregs practices”)? Or do I say I will do 30 minutes home practice on days when I go to classes?
At the root of it, my yoga practice IS my home practice. Any classes I take are just to feed my home practice. That is where the value is for me, it’s my laboratory and my sanctuary.