Being alone doesn't necessarily mean being lonely. You've heard that before, right?
But if you're used to turning up at class or turning up the volume on a teacher's voice that gives you detailed cues, it can seem lonely when you stand at the top of your mat in a room by yourself.
At its best, home yoga practice connects you not only to your inner voice but to your teachers and other meaningful people in your life through sensation, memory and motion.
The next time you unroll your mat, consider engaging in a self led practice, rather than hitting "play" on that video or audio. "Self led" doesn't mean ignoring everything you've ever learned. In fact, it will reveal to you what you have learned and what voices are stuck in your head. Some of those voices will be welcome and make you feel less lonely. Others you'll think "How did that get in there?" Practicing on your own gives you a unique vantage point on all that chatter and helps you take up a position of witness, or listener and sort through which ones you want to listen to and which you'd just as well pass over. Here are some questions to get you started and sweep you along:
What does your teacher say at the beginning of each class? Follow that instruction.
Begin gently. Cat-Dog series are excellent to wake up the spine and joints and can suggest the next place to go. Sun Salutations, taking several breaths in each pose for the first two cycles and keeping the knees bent are also an excellent entree into practice.
What is the most frequent thing your teacher says, the line that gets stuck in your head? Follow that idea.
Is there a pose you want to explore? What joints are involved in that pose? What poses bring awareness to those joints? Do those first, build up.
Do you feel like back bending or forward bending? What ever you begin with, follow with the other. You can have a whole practice going from one to the other and back.
Do you feel like twisting? Start with simple, partial, gentle twists and work up to more muscular versions.
How about going up side down today? Inversions can be a perfect end to practice. Viparita Karani, or Legs Up the Wall, is a great any time choice.
Finally, take a final spinal twist and release into Savasana, Final Resting Pose. Remember to take at least 10% of your practice time here, letting the layers fall away, your mind and body reorganizing.
Tell me in the comments how your home yoga practice connects you and your favorite way to start!