When it comes to yoga, you have options about where to practice. But what’s best? Is it better to practice yoga at home on your own or in class with a teacher?
Both are beneficial. A lot of people start practicing at home, thinking they’ll work their way up to attending a class–but working in the opposite direction may be a better option.
Being in a class gives you direction and teaches you about yoga; a teacher can help you correct your alignment and breathing. As you learn more, you can bring it with you onto the mat at home where you can focus on your needs and experiences rather than listening for what the teacher says next. Having spent time in classes, you’ll have a wide variety of poses to choose from and you can work intuitively rather than wondering what to do next.
My teacher, a master yogi, does a personal practice every day, but he still goes to classes. However, those classes are in addition to what he does on his own. The personal home practice is the ultimate goal.
However, there are good reasons to practice in both places whether you’re a beginner or an advanced student.
Why You Should Do Yoga at Home
Your home practice is personal development. You’re experimenting each time you get on the mat, and when you can be alone with yourself, you can follow the paths (and poses) you feel called to follow from day to day.
Of course, it’s also easier to schedule a home practice because you don’t have to depend on a studio timeline, and this is nice for beginners and advanced students alike. You also might be more likely to develop a daily yoga habit if you don’t have to go out in inclement weather or even make yourself presentable if you don’t want to.
There are so many classes on YouTube to get you started or to supplement what you’re already doing, but take care not to get caught up in doing the same one every time. Continue to explore many styles and many poses.
Why You Should Go to Yoga Class
If you do yoga for the first time on your own, even with a video, you might not get a clear idea of what is meant by certain cues or positions. Some of this you’ll learn as you go, but if you don’t, you could get stuck doing what you think is “right” for years when actually it still needs a little tweaking.
And it will probably need a little tweaking for a really long time. And even after you’ve done the pose a thousand times, every day your body feels different, and more tweaking is required. This is how we continue to grow in our yoga practice. Our teachers draw things to our attention, yes, because they also teach us how to become aware of those things by ourselves.
As a beginner, each new class will introduce you to new poses and new ways of doing things, and you’ll learn more about yoga history and philosophy. Even as an experienced yoga practitioner, going to class will give you new ideas and perspective.
Going to class also gets us out of any self-imposed yoga ruts: perhaps we’re avoiding certain poses or not holding others for very long. A teacher might ask you to do things you’re not doing for yourself when you do yoga at home.
The most important thing is to do yoga. 🙂 Whether that’s in class or on your own, it’s a very good thing. If you’re especially partial to one place or the other, challenge yourself to branch out and go to that first class or try your first at-home practice without the help of a video to guide you. See what it’s like.
Where do you prefer to practice? And why?