Thursday, July 18, 2013

10:13 PM
As I posted in response to this article a couple of weeks ago, going to yoga classes on a regular basis is something that I have given up for the most part since having my second kid. While I love practicing in a group with a good teacher, getting to a class at a specific time, for a specific amount of time has proven challenging and not necessarily where I want to cash in my asking more of husband chips. Besides, a studio yoga habit can be very expensive, especially if you already have under-utilized gym membership(s). Ahem.

Over the years I have tried a variety of means to maintain a yoga practice from the comfort/distraction of my home, and sometimes even my office. First, I will list the things I have tried that I didn't love. Then I will give you some detail on what I have found that works for me.

What Didn't Work to Support my At-Home Yoga Practice
Yoga DVDs. I have tried a wide variety and, with the exception of the Baron Baptiste videos I describe below, they have proved to be shockingly disappointing. If you have some good suggestions, please do post them here, because honestly, I have given up.

Yoga Books/Flashcards. Worst idea ever. Sure, reading about yoga is great, and looking at people in the postures is inspiring. But how can you be expected to have a smooth, flowing practice if you are pausing to flip cards, flip pages or otherwise mechanically guide yourself through a practice?

Yogaglo. While cool in concept, I found this site/service to be clunky in implementation. Maybe they have upgraded it in recent years, but I disliked trying to scroll through the offerings to match what was offered to my mood. It also ended up being one of those annoying subscription things that you keep for way too long and pay too much for once you stop using regularly and then inevitably forget to cancel.

Self-led Practice. On the best of days I would make it through 10 sun salutations and approximately 15 minutes of practice before my mind would start to wander and I would end up folding laundry instead of completing my practice. On the worst of days I would practice yoga while watching a movie, which would mean I sat in butterfly pose for 30 minutes, and maybe threw in a couple of seated forward bends. This is similar to what happens to me when I will do some situps and pushups while I watch a movie. Not.

iphone Apps. I have tried several over the years, Simply Yoga, and Yoga Stretch, and Daily Yoga, included. Some are good, see below, but I would not bother with most of the others. Again, if you have some good suggestions, please do post them here. Everyday it seems like new ones are developed and posted.

How I Practice at Home on a Weekly Basis
Yoga DVDs. I have five DVDs that I do on a very regular basis. They are well-paced, sufficiently challenging, and contain enough variety that they have allowed me to maintain a fairly well-rounded and vigorous practice. Specifically, the videos I use are as follows:
  • Baron Baptiste - Journey into Power Level 2 (45 minutes; nice flow sequence, including balancing poses)
  • Baron Baptiste - Core Power (25 minutes; lots of sit ups and back work)
  • Baron Baptiste - Unlocking Athletic Power (29 minutes); lots of hip-opening poses which I find to be a great counter-effort to running)
  • Baron Baptiste - Long and Lean (50 minutes; some challenging flow sequences)
  • Baron Baptiste - Power Yoga (60 minutes; a challenging practice with a mix of flow and bikram)
iphone Apps. I have two yoga apps that I have now used and like enough that I have returned to them for the variety, duration, and to match my mood. These apps both work in much the same way in that a voice guides you through the practice, while visual cues are shown on your screen, and music plays in the background.
  • Yogify: 15-minute, 30-minute, and 45-minute classes at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
  • Yoga Studio: 15-minute, 30-minute, and 60-minute classes at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
In the end, I think a yoga practice at home works best if you are already familiar with yoga and can get yourself into and out of poses with the proper intention and alignment. With a solid foundation though, I have found practicing at home to be an amazing way to maintain yoga as a fundamental part of my wellness practice, with a refresher class taken in a studio now and again.

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