DIYoga – or Do it (yourself) Yoga – is my take on the home practice of yoga. I’ve practiced indoors, outdoors, in the desert, under
trees, in the snow at 20 below and in August desert heat. I’ve practiced through chronic pain, before and after hip replacement surgery, through miscarriage and on many crazy blissful days. I’ve been dedicated to teachers, I’ve gone without teachers, I’ve dabbled in styles and am a repeat subscriber to yoga video websites.
There’s no way you can do ALL of that with a teacher. Unless, maybe, you’re Julia Roberts. I’m guessing she can tote a yoga teacher around with her. But even if you could retain a teacher to be by your side through thick and thin – another person, that is – what would you be missing?
You’d be missing the moments that make us all uncomfortable: the quiet moments between poses or before you get started when you are wholly and utterly naked to yourself (figuratively). You’d be missing the opportunity to do what you keep thinking of doing in class: hold that pose a little longer, or follow it with that awesome pose your body is just calling for… but the teacher has another (also awesome) thing in mind, so you go there. You’d be missing out on listening to the wisdom of your own body.
So, do you need a teacher? ABSOLUTELY. Several. Ideally you find an in person teacher near where you live and work and you visit them regularly. Until you’ve internalized their kindness. And then keep going. But even if you have this (and many people in less populous places don’t – I know, hard to believe in the yoga saturated world, 2012), the authentic teacher is your own deepest instinct and wisdom combined. Instinct is a reminder of your already beautiful being; wisdom is the accumulation of experience peeling back the layers over that light. You need occasional substitute teachers to remind you that the teacher really is within, and that the kindness and wisdom you appreciate in “your” teacher isn’t patented by them. And sometimes you just need to shake it up.
So DIY your yoga! Bring your practice home and discover your practice. Yoga is about inclusion, so it’s not “either-or.” But remember that your teacher isn’t yoga. You have to find that yourself.