Home Practice

While the battle of who owns the rights to a certain style of filmed yoga class rages on, yogis continue to practice at home, on their mats, guided by their own rhythms, or those of the washing machine. 

Practicing at home is a lot harder than it sounds. We find that if you work at home, practicing at home is difficult. Who wants to spend MORE time at home, alone, when that’s what you do all the time anyway? Yet cultivating time on the mat, by yourself, can be more healing than even the best restorative class. And it doesn’t have to take an hour; in fact, most times all we can squeeze in is sirsasana or 15 minutes of surya namaskar, but even that makes a big difference.

Here are some tools to add to your home practice kit, to keep you inspired and committed:

• Next time you go to a class, take a notebook with you! When a sequence feels good, or the teacher says something that really clicks, make a note and save it for your home practice.

YogaChezMoi! This site created by yoga teacher Charlotte Saint Jean is a great way to study with a variety of instructors (many of them based in Paris) from your own house or apartment. What’s great about YogaChezMoi is that they routinely have specials—free weekend sessions, discounts on class packs—that encourage regular practice and exploration. Their YouTube channel also offers quick demos and pose breakdowns. If you’re new to yoga en français, this is a great introduction.

• In addition to the videos listed on their site, and those that are part of Yoga Chez Moi, Ashtanga Yoga Paris’s Linda Munro and Gérald Dissehave a YouTube channel to help your practice by becoming better acquainted with anatomy, poses and philosophy.

• New York-based yoga teacher Julie Dohrman (one of our teachers) has a series of podcasts you can use to add variety to your practice. There are 45-minute, 60-minute and 90-minute sessions depending on how much time you have, and the price is a total steal for such wonderfulinstruction. 

• It’s your practice, don’t forget! If you need balasana instead of vinyasa, go for it. Listen to your body.

• YogaWorks’s teacher Céline Antoine—who teaches in both French and English—has a nice series of videos called “Arrêt sur Asana” that break down common poses and transitions to help you develop confidence and finesse.

• Remember that part about listening to your body? Sometimes it's ok to tell it to shut up, especially when it’s asking for chocolate instead of chaturanga ;-)

• If you really want to invest in your home practice, Zhenja La Rosa is leading a six-week webinar entitled “Self as Guru: Home Practice Clinic” in which you will revitalize your home practice through sequence templates, simple meditations, and therapeutic tips. Get $50 off when you register before 15 October.

• If it’s a simple morning wake-up sequence you’re after, to start your day off on the right foot, this short set of poses is quick and does a good job of opening the hips and stretching the shoulders.

• Paris studio CasaYoga has a few videos (20 mn and 30 mn) that are designed for beginning as well as more seasoned students.

Susanna Harwood Rubin, the artist/writer/yoga teacher who also leads Writing Your Practice, now has online classes through StudioLiveTV. The pricing is simple: $6 for a single class, $15 for one month, $72 for six months. Susanna’s teaching emphasizes the role that mythology plays in our everyday lives, so if you’re keen to do yoga and listen to fantastical stories about Indian deities, sign up! 

• Click around the internet, dummy. This is a good warm-up and helps you discover new classes or mini-intensives online. We found this 60-minute class with an emphasis on standing poses through Christina Sell’s Live the Light of Yoga YouTube channel.

• If you have trouble making sure you hold poses for the same amount of time on both sides, count your breath. If you lose track, download a metronome app to your phone.

• If you need more of a workbook or cahier to help you personalize your home practice, get Erica Jago and Elena Brower’s book, Art of Attention (now available in French!

So many ideas! So many ways to experiment! What’s your favorite trick?