Bootstrapping your practice? Why yoga books & DVDs may not be enough

So you’ve heard all about the benefits of yoga. The gradual easing of chronic aches and pains, the increase in flexibility and mobility. The seemingly-effortless weight loss. The calm relaxation. The increased self-awareness and compassion towards others.


Yes, you want all that. In this day and age, the whole world is at our fingertips – almost literally. Just ask Google, “yoga for beginners” and you’ll find pages and pages on, step-by-step instructions for specific poses, or even full-length beginners’ classes to practice along with on YouTube.


You’ve got the resources. You’ve invested in a mat, and those gorgeous leggings that you had to have. And yet the closest you’ve come to a sun salutation was lifting your arms overhead to pop your shiny new copy of “The Complete Guide to Yoga” on the shelf.


There is no longer any urgency now. You’ll congratulate yourself for making the effort. You have all the necessary accoutrement, ready and waiting. They aren’t going anywhere, you’ll get around to it… at some point.


And there’s the rub. Starting up a yoga practice all by yourself requires great discipline of both body and mind. Your effort is required all the way through from getting the mat, getting on the mat, and then getting all the way through to the end of the DVD without being distracted by your housemates, pets, children… or pausing to check your Whatsapp messages (guilty!).


When you haul yourself to a yoga class, that’s the hardest part done. You turn up, switch off, and let the instructor lead you. You’re less likely to walk out in the middle of a class that’s already started. You also have the security of knowing that if you’re holding poses in a way that’s potentially unsafe for your joints, muscles or spine, the instructor will assist you in getting the right technique.


Even though yoga is at the end of the day a solo practice, the interactive environment of an in-real-life class can do wonders to ignite the flame of a regular practice.


What’s your biggest challenge trying to practice from home? Let us know in the comments below.


Photo credit: Fran Gallo