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Yoga at home is different. As someone who loves going into the yoga studio, moving my practice home was difficult at first. I missed the community of fellow yogis and yoga teachers practicing beside me and the ability to focus inward and tune everything else out.
While I practiced at home, I had a lot more distractions. Whether it was slow Wi-Fi, the sound of the TV on in the other room, or my dog climbing all over my yoga mat, I felt like I just couldn’t focus.
Aside from all those obvious external distractions, I felt tons of internal ones as well. “I should’ve thrown my laundry in before this...” “Did I turn the oven off?” “Is someone texting me?” “I can’t wait to eat a snack when this is over.” The list goes on and on...
But as studios remained closed, I realized it might be a while before I could go back to in-person yoga classes—and I needed to change my attitude. So, I made a conscious decision to stop being mad about the whole situation and try to get the most out of my at-home yoga practice.
Here are some tips that helped me finally learn to love virtual yoga.
You wouldn’t bring your phone into your in-studio yoga practice, so why should you have it next to you during a virtual class? A huge part of yoga is eliminating distractions, and there’s nothing more distracting than a phone that lights up, dings, or buzzes every five seconds. Turn your phone off, or if you’re like me, just put it in another room so you can’t even see the thing.
If you’ve ever looked around in a yoga studio, you can probably tell a lot of thought, planning, and TLC went into making it the beautiful, welcoming, and peaceful sanctuary you practice in. When I first started doing at-home yoga, I’d roll out my mat in the tiny space next to my bed or push the coffee table aside in the living room. As I flowed through my asanas, I’d have to push a pair of sneakers out of my way or find myself accidentally kicking the wall. This was not ideal.
Once I realized this would be a regular thing, I made sure the room was spotless, set up my diffuser (or space heater) in a corner, had blankets ready, plants surrounding me, and my own personal little yoga space to help me find my Zen. Don’t be afraid to switch it up and discover which area of the house you like best! Now, I alternate between my little yoga spot in the bedroom and taking my mat out onto the balcony when the weather’s nice, and I need some fresh air. It’s the little things.
Just because you’re not physically with the people or teachers in your class, doesn’t mean you’re not together. In virtual classes, there are people from all over the place (maybe even different states or countries!) practicing the same flow and following the same instructor. That is beautiful in itself! Virtual classes have opened doors for lots of people to try yoga, perhaps even beginners trying for the first time. Some don’t live near a yoga studio. Some can’t typically afford the in-studio pricing. Some may have been too nervous or embarrassed to walk into a new yoga class alone. And some may have recently decided to try yoga because of their increased free time—or anxiety about the state of the world. Whatever the reason, many are coming together to practice yoga alongside you. This may be the first yoga community they have ever been a part of.
When I would go into the studio, I felt a little more structure. I had class at a set time, needed to arrive a few minutes early to get a good spot and set up, and I would never consider walking out in the middle of the yoga practice to go home and do laundry.
When I did virtual yoga classes, though, I’d often work right up until the start of class. I’d look at the clock, rush to set up my mat in a panic, and usually end up missing the breathing/focusing/warming up part. I’d jump right in without setting the tone, which would often lead to distractions throughout. When we were right in the thick of it, I'd remember some “important” thing I had to do, and sometimes I’d even get up and go do it, because who’s watching?
Learning to treat virtual yoga the same way I treated regular class was key to making the practice worthwhile. I started implementing some “commute” time, a buffer in between work and yoga. I’d get everything set up and be ready to go with time to spare, so I could tune in—and stay tuned in—throughout my whole practice.
The best part of virtual workout classes is no one can see you. Not that anyone paid attention to you during in-studio yoga, but there’s definitely some comfort in knowing you’re not playing a game of who’s more flexible or who can do the best headstands. Now’s the time to—carefully—try out those new poses you’ve been too nervous to try. Think outside the box, go off-script a bit, find your flow, and add to your practice. If you don’t follow along to exactly what the teacher is saying, that’s okay! Take this at-home time to find freedom and creativity in your yoga practice, expressing yourself, trying new things, and not worrying about anyone but yourself.
After I started doing these five things, my relationship with virtual yoga completely changed. Instead of dreading it, dipping out early, or feeling like my thoughts were elsewhere the whole time, I began to appreciate it in an entirely different way.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my in-person studio, and I can’t wait to get back once it reopens, but I think I’ll mix a little virtual into my routine from here on out.
In the past, on days when I couldn’t make it to class in time because of rush hour traffic, forgot my mat or a change of clothes, or didn’t sign up before it filled up, I’d just go home and skip yoga that day. Now, I envision a hybrid routine, with virtual and in-studio classes. I’ll be able to fit in a lot more yoga, stop making excuses, practice on my own, and continue to support my studio all along.
Here’s to second chances.
Want to try a virtual yoga class for yourself? Browse Mindbody to find one that fits your schedule!
Kyle House Fitness is Chattanooga’s premier fitness program offering group fitness classes and personal training with the best-certified instructors and trainers in the area. Located on Chattanooga’s thriving Southside, Kyle House Fitness is more than a gym, they pride themselves on building a welcoming and inclusive community. The owners of this gym, Kyle House and Kyle Miller (AKA The Kyles), may sound familiar to you since they recently wrote a blog post for us on how to be an LGBTQIA+ ally in the fitness space.
Since they happen to be one of the most influential duos in the fitness industry, we were eager to sit down and learn more about what wellness means to them. Ready to get to know The Kyles better? Let’s dive in.
We have always had a love for fitness. From an early age, we were both very athletic (swimming, gymnastics, and cheerleading). Once we graduated, we slowly transitioned into training young athletes and then later started working on our careers. Kyle House started personal training at a large gym and began building a solid career as a personal trainer and groups fitness instructor. Kyle Miller started working in marketing and communications ranging from politics, law enforcement, and tech becoming a leading public relations professional. After working in their fields for about 10 years they decided to combine their love of fitness with their experience and built one of the most successful fitness facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
During our time working at other gyms and visiting other facilities that many were either missing qualified and motivating trainers, topnotch customer service, or a workout that was balanced and would lead to results for everyone whether they were casual fitness enthusiasts or hardcore athletes. We are motivated on a day-to-day basis by the idea that we can always be better. The experience can get better, the community can grow stronger, and we can continue to show people that fitness is more than just a way to look good, it's therapy.
Wellness to us has always been about leading a life that is balanced. It's not all fitness, it's not all work, it's not all fun... it's not all healthy food, it's not just junk food—it's about finding a way to reach your own personal goals while still having a healthy relationship with fitness, friends, family, and food—otherwise known as the four Fs.
If you're in the Chattanooga area, you should definitely check out Kyle House Fitness to take your wellness routine to the next level. You can book classes on the Mindbody app or through their KHF app.