With studios opening back up, I’m on the fence about returning. I maintained my membership at my studio throughout the pandemic, as I knew that I wanted to see the business survive. However, during this time I have established a daily yoga practice. I set up my own little yoga space in my basement with all the things - it’s my own little sacred place!
I never thought I could be someone disciplined enough to do yoga at home, but this situation forced me to and I have come out on the other side loving it and scared to lose the self-motivation of doing “yoga anywhere” as opposed to just in the studio.
What are your thoughts on the benefits of a home practice versus an in-studio practice? Mentally and physically? Should I risk the habit I created for sake of community and for sake of the business? Or, take a leap of faith that my home practice will continue as strongly as ever despite businesses opening up?
Thanks for your thoughts…
Dear So Conflicted,
During the first two months of the pandemic, I stumbled upon some bold realizations:
Everything that you wrote above, about valuing your newfound practice that is just for you--it’s beautiful and validating. As wonderful as it is to share your practice within a community, this is not the time to do so. The risk is far higher than the reward, in my opinion. Your home practice is what you need more than anything else right now. The benefits of practicing at home outweigh maintaining a membership because they are available to you at all times, day or night, and they allow you to sit with your Self and tailor your practice to your body, your mental and emotional state, and your own pace.
The very idea of stepping into a yoga studio while we are still experiencing the first wave of this pandemic is mind-boggling to me. It is not only unethical from a yogic standpoint, but it also has the complete opposite effect on our nervous systems and mental/emotional well-being than what we try to achieve through yoga. No matter how far apart the mats are spaced, yoga is a practice based around breath work and COVID-19 is an illness brought on by a respiratory virus.
The Yama ahimsa, the practice of non-harm, is not only about not being violent toward others. It’s about caring for the well-being of all. Practicing yoga in a public, community space without a mask, indoors during this time contradicts this very important cornerstone of the yoga tradition. Practicing yoga mindfully within your own space is cultivating ahimsa within your practice, your community, and your life.
While I commend you for wanting to contribute to the wellness of a local business, please do not do so at the expense of your own health. There are other ways to practice yoga and maintain community--ZOOM livestream yoga has become quite a success for the individual yoga teacher. I would also recommend checking out Union for an online based yoga studio experience, or even keeping up a livestream-only membership through your home studio, if they are offering it.
It sounds to me like you are searching for permission for something you already plan to do. While you don’t need permission to deepen your practice within your own home, here it is.
Be well and keep practicing,