Why I Never Practice Alone


This post was originally written for Deborah Williamson’s Wild Abundant Life.  View the original post on WAL, here:  http://wildabundantlife.com/2013/07/why-i-never-practice-alone-by-contributing-blogger-rachel-gerrity/

I am a yoga teacher, and I don’t have a home yoga practice.  I feel like this is my dirty little secret.  I always imagine yoga teachers waking up early in the morning and practicing yoga for hours and hours in a silent room all alone.  Sure, I keep a yoga mat at home and even insisted that my new home have a dedicated yoga space.  But outside of unrolling my mat to try out a few sequences before I teach, I have yet to use this dedicated yoga space.

My reluctance to practice yoga at home has nothing to do with me being undisciplined – okay… maybe it has a little to do with that.  But to me yoga is about community and connection, and I simply don’t get that alone on a mat in my home.  For my yoga practice to feel complete, I need to share it with others.

The most powerful moments I have had in my own yoga practice weren’t when I got into my first headstand or wheel.  It wasn’t when I finally felt like I was flying in crow rather than crashing.  Instead, my most powerful moments have been when I have been practicing in a room so crowded that my neighbor’s sweat kept dripping on my mat.  When I have heard the beautiful sound of a roomful of people inhaling and exhaling together.  When I laid is savasana next to my mom after a day-long yoga workshop.  Those have been my most powerful moments because they have been moments when I have felt true connection.

I know that for many people, yoga is a personal practice.  And I would say that it is for me as well.  Yoga is a time for me to turn inward and check-in with myself; it is a time for me to slow down and stop the constant hustle of the day.  But for me at least, this personal work is best done amongst a strong community.  Knowing that I am surrounded by others who support me gives me the strength and courage to be more vulnerable than I can be alone.

So here I am now out in the open – I am a yoga teacher without a home practice.  And although I know that I am missing out on so many of the benefits of a home practice, I also know what makes me come to my mat each day – knowing that I am connected  to something larger than just myself and that my participation in this community is meaningful to myself and my fellow yogis.


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