One of the most meaningful elements of yoga is community. Moving and breathing with others feels good and boosts our souls—but it's not the only way to practice.
In fact, New York-based yoga teacher Rebecca Hajek tells mbg that developing a strong solo practice can have some amazing benefits. So whether you don't have time to make it to class or you're simply in the mood to do your own thing, here's how doing yoga solo can improve your practice.
You'll get exactly what you want out of your practice.
In a private practice you can tailor the sequence and postures to be anything you need them to be—you serve your body and mind. You can give yourself the room to heal, to energize, to soften, to receive. Maybe you're working with an injury and find classes too fast and challenging—so you can create a sequence that serves you and your injury. Maybe what your soul needs is some restorative practices where you open up a floodgate and have a good cry. A private practice can be any and everything you need it to be.
A private practice challenges you.
I think we like to be led in life. It's easier to go to a class and have someone tell you what to do and lead you in a certain direction, especially if you're newer to yoga. But a yoga class can't always give you what you need. Some days I'll walk into a studio and want an energizing flow, and I'll get the opposite. Or I'll want to work hips and it's all about the hamstrings. The main benefit of a private practice is that you tailor it to yourself. You move in a way organic to you and your body.
It reminds you that yoga can be anything.
Yoga isn't just the asana practice or posture practice. Just sitting quietly and breathing is yoga. Maybe your daily solo yoga practice is sitting quietly and meditating. There's nothing wrong with that.
Here's how you can have the strongest solo practice ever.
When I'm practicing solo I'm practicing a hybrid of the ashtanga primary series. For those unfamiliar with ashtanga, it's a set sequence of postures. As a teacher who is constantly coming up with sequences, it's nice to plug in to a familiar flow that allows me to really tap into my body and breath.
More often than not, I'm practicing restorative poses. My feet go up the wall—pigeon pose with a bolster or a pillow—some shoulder openers against my couch and a supported backbend. My private practice has allowed for me to really tune in to what my body needs. If my hips are tight from a lot of Pilates work, I'll stretch my hips and groin. Twists are great for lower-back issues. De-energizing forward folds just feel so yummy after a crazy day of running around the city. My private practice becomes about nourishing my body and my soul.