My kind of yoga is now practised at home with just the cat watching.
I call it virtual yoga. It's just me, the cat, the mat and the virtual yogi soothingly explaining the session to me from my iPad screen.
For 10 years I practised yoga, off and on, in different studios and with some excellent teachers. But now that I've ditched the studio I'm, ironically, finally committing to daily yoga.
It's all about convenience. I can turn on the iPad and practise yoga with proper instruction every day and at random times I choose, like 10pm or 5am. I always wanted to practise at home daily but I could never remember enough poses from class for a proper session. So yoga fizzled.
In-studio yoga classes were good but not cheap so I could only afford one or two a week. It wasn't enough for me. And on chilly, wet nights I was sometimes too lazy to leave the lounge for the drive to the studio. My motivation blew hot and cold.
Now I practice daily by following a screen. It seemed awkward at first, not being in a studio with a real person instructing, but I like that I'm saving money and that I can even do yoga in my pyjamas. For mums, the privacy of home also means unrepentantly ejecting the occasional, embarrassing noise caused by downward dog.
I'm sure yoga enthusiasts will say instruction from a yogi in a studio is best. This may be true for some. Maybe you need a good foundation of yoga before solely practising virtual yoga. For example, the on-screen yogi can't reach her limber limb out of the screen and adjust your pose if it's not right. You also need to be able to know your limits to avoid injury. Virtual yogis don't always remind you of this. Not all Apps are equal.
That aside, I know my virtual yoga works. I still get all those warm, fuzzy after-yoga feelings. I'm now motivated to do it daily and I can finally see results in the mirror.
I've raved to a few friends about virtual yoga and they're also hooked. Like me, they're more motivated than ever to practise yoga daily because it's become more convenient.
I figure practising yoga, no matter how or where you do it, is great for you but here's why virtual yoga works for me:
1. I can squeeze in a proper, instructed yoga session at 10pm or 5am by simply switching on your App.
2. I'm rubbish at self-instruction so the App classes keep me on track, motivate me, and I can choose the duration and focus of each session.
3. Better still, I can do this in my pyjamas, torn workout gear or even in the nude if the mood takes me. Only the virtual yogi (and the cat) are watching.
4. The iPad's portable so if I'm stuck in a hotel room I can still do instructed yoga.
5. I can make funny noises without shame in the privacy of my own home while practising yoga. Enough said.
6. It's cheaper on my wallet.
7. I still get variety. Some Apps have more than 50 different classes and I can customise my own class.
8. Virtual yoga has actually motivated me to do more yoga, more regularly. Because now I can.
9. If I want to go back and master a pose I just swipe the screen and try again.
10. I'm not shy but I am a bit competitive. I can attempt new poses and look as awkward as I like, without others watching. That said, yoga studios are non-judgemental environments where we all look extremely awkward from time to time.