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Why It’s Better to do Yoga in a Cave Rather Than a Classroom

Why it is better to do yoga in a cave (or really anywhere) than going to a yoga studio?

Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic or just a shout out to our yogi brethren past that used to practice alone in a cave. Either way the point to take away here is that yoga can be done anywhere so there is no reason you have to go to the studio!

You can’t browse the inner-webs without coming across a photograph of someone doing yoga at the top of a mountain, at the beach, or on the street—apparently, the streets of NYC are popular these days—why is it then that we are so fixated on being in the yoga studio?

In case my compelling words have not yet convinced you to take your mat off the reused bamboo or hardwood floors, here’s three reasons you should practice anywhere:

1.   “Keep your eyes on your own mat!” Do you automatically scan the classroom when you walk in? Checking out others yoga mats, the array of yoga clothing, and what people are rocking for as there pre-yoga yoga? This is not what the yogis call reflection. In fact, this could be the opposite of reflection.

Svadhyaya, or the self-study Niyama, is the kind of reflection you can do internally, not with your head on a swivel. So if you find that your yoga class is more about what the ‘lemon heads’ are wearing or who is better (or worse in some cases) at the more advanced poses than you, then it is time for you to go to the cave and practice solo.

2.   “Every day on the mat is different.” Let go of what you could do yesterday and be in your body today. Have you hit a plateau? You’ve “mastered” the vinyasa, wheel (or back bend), and the ever-coveted headstand or handstand, so now what?

When you walk into the yoga studio, it is inviting, but is not about you. Most teachers in a group, mixed level class teach to the least experienced student. Which means the more knowledgeable students or advanced students will have to make their own challenges when it comes to going deeper.

What is more challenging than crawling onto the mat and really seeing what your body needs! Oh yea, no teacher leading you through hip openers (again), now it’s time to connect with your breath and discover what’s happening inside. This discovery will guide what you can work on. It’s that simple!

3.   “Yoga, yoga everywhere, and a million dollars to spend!” All right, so money doesn’t make the world go ‘round, but let’s face it when dollars get tight the extras go bye-bye. No more pedicures, massages, and yoga studios? You know there’s a difference between bow pose and boat pose, you practically do sun salutations in your sleep, so logically you can do yoga anywhere.

If you have ever taken a photo of yourself doing yoga poses in public, why aren’t you practicing everywhere? Even if money isn’t an issue, you should know that yoga is free. It’s always available to you, regardless of day or time. It’s not about the teacher or the style, but how you feel when you’re moving, breathing, or sitting still.

There it is, get out of the studio and get thee to a cave! After all, for years that was where yoga was practiced, although it was mostly men and they rocked some pretty crazy yoga clothes. While we don’t need to take it way back (adult diapers have come a long way since then), taking a few pointers from them may be just what you need to boost your practice.

Get thy booty out of the studio and out into the world to do some yoga!

About the Author:

Liz Vartanian is just a girl in the world who loves hula-hoops, tree pose, and BIG heart to heart hugs. She is 200-hour certified Yoga Instructor through Yoga Yoga in Austin, TX and loves the flow and go of vinyasa. She  teaches daily donation yoga classes from in her home studio and weekly “office yoga” classes around town. Her students range from 20-something coffee baristas and folk musicians to lawyers and gamers. She can be found sipping coffee with her man and two yoga inspiring dogs, rolling around on the mat, preparing to be a yoga momma, chatting it up on Twitter @YogaBetty, or making short yoga videos for her blog on YogaBetty.com.

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