Should You Do Yoga At Home Or In a Formal Class?

Deciding between a live class and doing yoga at home? Here are some of the pros and cons of both options…

Yoga has been proven to reduce stress, help relieve back pain, increase longevity and deliver a host of other positive health benefits. It’s no wonder that yoga classes are more popular than ever these days! However, there are a number of reasons why you may decide to practice yoga at home, versus in an organized class.

The available yoga classes offered in your town may be far away from your home, or you might have young children to tend to that make it difficult to find time to head to the yoga studio. Maybe you just prefer to exercise alone, or feel sensitive about your body weight or shape, and would like to get started on your own until you feel more comfortable. Whatever your reasons for learning and practicing yoga at home, there are a few things you need to know.

First off, yoga is one of the easiest forms of exercise to practice at home. All you really need to get started is a good yoga mat! You may also wish to purchase two yoga blocks and a yoga strap for modifications, and other props such as a yoga bolster may come in handy – but if you’re on a budget, a mat is the only real necessity.

Even if you buy all of those items, as well as a meditation cushion, the physical space you need and the financial outlay you incur to practice yoga at home are both minimal. And classes offered outside your home can be costly.

However, the drawback of learning yoga at home is that you will have to be your own teacher to some degree – and you’ll have to commit some time to a regular practice. It may be wise to set up a dedicated space for yoga, and schedule it on your calendar at a certain time to keep yourself on track. Make sure your yoga space is uncluttered and serene, and you may wish to add images and objects that create a sense of peace and tranquility.

Since there are literally hundreds of forms and modifications of this ancient spiritual practice, choose a yoga style which fits you best, and stick to it. Beginners can start off with forms like Iyengar or Kripalu yoga, which help you learn proper positioning, or pick up a couple of Hatha or Vinyasa DVDs.

While learning yoga at home can save you both money and time, you may miss out on some of the benefits of the personal attention from the instructor that you would receive in a live class. This is why it’s a great idea to attend at least a few classes if you can, especially if you’re completely new to yoga, so that you can learn the proper form for some of the basic yoga poses. This will help ensure that you get the most benefit from your practice, while avoiding mistakes that could potentially cause injury.

After you get a feel for it, you can then begin to develop your own individual practice at home. If you simply can’t find a live class in your area, the Internet provides access to thousands of helpful yoga DVD courses, books and even yoga flash cards which you can purchase and have delivered to your front door.

Of you find certain aspects of both home practice and out-of-the-home structured classes attractive, you may want to look into joining an online yoga club. This gives you access to podcasts, user guides and video direction from trained yoga masters, available in your particular time frame and in the privacy of your home. There are also smartphone applications which allow you to complement your at-home yoga practice with on-the-go availability.

Whether you are learning yoga at home or in a structured class setting, there are so many benefits to gain from a regular yoga practice! Make it a resolution this year to get started if you haven’t already!


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