Is self-taught yoga good?
There are a lot of people who won’t go to a yoga studio to practice due to laziness, lack of time or cost issue so they would just practice at home with some teaching materials/ videos. Let’s take a look if it is all right to practice alone.
Q1: Why it is not ideal for beginners to practice at home?
Firstly, a beginner has no foundation. If just following books or video, it is very hard to get into the pose with the right alignment. Although some are gifted and good at practicing with the mirror but there are still areas that you cannot see, like your back.
If one continues practicing with the misaligned postures, it will lead to injuries - “Yoga Injuries”. Secondly is “laziness” since no one is guiding when you are practicing at home, most would just “rest”. There is no consistency hence you can’t see any result or improvement.
Q2: How long do I need to practice yoga in a class before I can practice at home?
It depends on an individual. Some fast learners needs about one year to know the basic.
Q3: Would it be better to practice at home for those who have some basic?
It is advisable to practice yoga everyday at the same time. A lot of us need to work so going to a studio with a fixed schedule is almost impossible. Besides, most studios will have different schedule everyday so this is hard for us to practice yoga everyday.
Some of the studios have hygiene issues like the common used yoga mat is not cleaned everyday unlike the one we have at home. So for those who already have foundation is better to practice at home. Beginners should not use this as an excuse and give up on going to the studio; there are a lot more studios that do keep a high standard on hygiene.
Q4: What are the areas we need to pay attention when we practice at home?
A quiet place would be a great start. Try to pick a time slot when it is most quiet time at home. Turn off the TV, because it is not ideal for people who are trying to go into meditative state. Pick a soothing music. Music helps the practice, better to pick those with 50-60-rhythm control, as this frequency is closer to our heart rate. Good ventilation. When we practice we need a lot of fresh air hence keeping a good ventilation is very important. Special note: do not turn on the air conditioning when practicing yoga.
Q5: I really do not have the ability to join a yoga class, thinking of learning at home. How should I choose the learning material?
Good books can lead us to understand more about yoga philosophies and guide us to practice the right yoga postures. However we have to be careful when selecting the books.
How do we choose the book? If it is in English, can go to Douban or Amazon to check on the reviews. If it is in Chinese, we can go straight to the bookstore to check the books out or ask around.
Another note, if we want to buy books, choose the authentic yoga book. It doesn't mean an Indian author would be a good book. Try to avoid the new-age yoga or self-creation yoga book authors. To be honest, these people never been tested by the public and he/she could have just published this one book or with great marketing and packaging where the constant is inadequate.
A book or a CD will never be able to replace a teacher. Because a teacher can communicate and give you feedback, a book or a CD can never give you feedback. Before you start practicing yoga or after you have practiced for sometime, reading book will help you understand more about yoga.
Practicing with a CD will be good after you have practiced yoga for sometime, understood the proper alignment of postures and safety measure then only you practice with CD. If the information is inadequate, you did not pay attention to breathing or which muscle works and or with wrong practicing method, all these will lead to injuries.