Yoga basics

Sometimes You Have to Come Home

The Science of a New Yoga Practice

Some people have argued that much, if not all, of what we do is a series of habits. I can relate to that, as I come from a long line of habit-lovers. But having vowed to bust out of my yoga comfort zone, I’ve been trying some new styles recently. It actually hasn’t been too painful. Some styles hooked me in ways I didn’t expect, and even the ones I didn’t completely fall in love with had me realize that if a class doesn’t totally grab you, there’s usually a little something to take away, some moment in a class where you lose yourself, and might be the better for it.

This all sounds very reasonable and cheerful, and for the most part it’s true. But recently I’ve been to a string of classes that I’ve felt sort of “blah” about. One was a nice vinyasa flow with some nice philosophy… there was nothing wrong with it exactly, but it just left me cold. Another was a meditation that sounded enticing, but I couldn’t connect to it, for whatever reason, and ended up bummed out because I didn’t get “enough” from it. I’ve been grappling with whether it was the classes or me that was the problem.

Sometimes You Have to Come Home

So, exasperated with my string of trials and errors (or with myself for not absorbing what I “should”), and still desperate to find the gut-level connection to yoga again, I decided to come home. Not to the teacher I’d started with, but literally home. After work one day, I came back to my apartment and beelined for my yoga mat like it was a drug I was jonesing for, and popped in an old yoga DVD I had. In a nutshell: It was really gooood. It was awesome, and grounding, and threw me right back where I needed to be. Why was it so simple all of a sudden?

My guess is that it’s because I fell back into what I knew, like an old habit, and this may have been what my brain was actually craving. Making a habit out of yoga – having a style, or a teacher, or a video to come home to every now and again – is not such a bad one to develop, and probably a lot better than other daily habits.

There’s something to be said for exploration, of course. Some classes will speak louder to us than others, and it’s virtually impossible to say which will or won’t. But there’s also something to be said for returning to what we know and love every so often – whatever or wherever that “home” may be. In yoga, it doesn’t really matter what kind you do or whom you do it with. It doesn’t have to be the hottest style of yoga or the yoga at the studio where all the beautiful people go. It just has to be. And hopefully, like any good habit, it will be again tomorrow.

Alice G. Walton, PhD is a health and science writer, and began practicing (and falling in love with) yoga last year. She is the Associate Editor at and a Contributor at Alice will be exploring yoga’s different styles, history, and philosophy, and sharing what she learns here on the YogaGlo blog.

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