Yoga @ Home: Why We Practice Now

Take a look. Do these home studios look similar to how you practice now? Did you ever imagine you would turn on your device, log into Zoom, and practice yoga from the comforts of your home day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month? I know I didn’t. But I am so grateful for this technology and the ability to stay connected, teaching yoga not only to people in my community but to yogis all around the world.

Earlier this year when studios closed and we were asked to shelter at home, my business quickly pivoted from in-person classes to online through Zoom. I became a Zoom expert overnight, teaching others how to create a login and connect to my live classes weekly. It may not have been my first choice, but it kept us connected and moving forward.

Quickly, many of us were reminded of our why. Why do we practice yoga? It is an internal desire for self-care and connection. It allows individuals to stay committed to their practice and connect to a community of open-hearted people. It is a way to relieve stress and process feelings – all of them. When we practice in the comforts of our own home, we do not need to look a certain way in our poses, wear fancy clothes, or have the best lighting. Practicing yoga at home gives us a new kind of freedom.

This year I celebrated my 20th year teaching yoga. I asked the students to share with me what benefits they have received from their practice. My heart was overflowing with gratitude as I read their statements. I found myself nodding my head as I read each testimony. I am also personally committed to my yoga practice because it grounds me in my body, connects me to my breath, and helps me heal my soul.

You are invited to read these beautiful testimonies and their why for practicing yoga.

I very much appreciate what you do for your yoga students. The care, learning, and time you put into our practices shine through. I have so much enjoyed my monthly membership and your very skilled on-line teaching. You have made a real difference in the quality of my life during the pandemic (and before of course too). It is no accident I keep showing up. When I make time for a yoga practice in my day, it almost always improves how I feel and my outlook. I consider the undone classes in my inbox to be my secret weapon!! I know they are there just waiting for me. And your on-line format and classes are a wonderful fit for my lifestyle. – Terri J.

Since joining Yoga by Mary virtually in April for Strength and Balance and Yoga classes, I have become aware that these stressful times we are in call out for resilience and grace! Mary’s intuition brings an amazing dose of well-timed reality and humor to the practices. Many times I have laughed or smiled at the timeliness of her suggestions to add a smile, relax the face, put in an extra effort or stand up straight. Having this beneficial activity as part of my routine has definitely contributed to better sleep, more flexibility and even hands-free ease in getting out of awkward outdoor chairs all summer. Thanks, Mary, you have been a wonderful influence! – Linda F.

I’ve had a handful of excellent COACHES in my life (in sports and other pursuits) — and you are one of ‘em! You instruct, explain, demonstrate, challenge, support, motivate and encourage with the best of them. (And somehow manage to foster a sense of teamwork even over zoom lines.) – Bob B.

Yoga by Mary is unique because Mary focuses on healthy aging, not just for the over 60s, but for younger people who find themselves behind a desk all day and want to prevent the slide into a sedentary life. – Jan S.

I have been practicing yoga with Mary for over 20 years, and I cannot imagine my life without it, especially now that we are all house-bound as a result of Covid-19. In the spring, Mary seamlessly switched her classes to an online format. I am so grateful that Mary offers many live classes on Zoom each week including a strength and balance class. She offers so much variety in her classes it is easy to stay engaged. All classes are recorded and available 24/7 after the live class for no extra cost. Her fees are more than reasonable for someone as dedicated and experienced as Mary is. One of Mary’s mottos is “Feel good at any age.” That is certainly my goal, and Mary has made it possible for me to feel good and strong and flexible and able to work in my garden for hours at a time at the age of 70. – Barb K.

Yoga has been part of my life for more than 30 years. Each year it becomes more important, more essential for my body, mind, and soul. During the pandemic, working with Mary has become even more important. I have come to realize that it lends badly needed structure to my life. It is a healthy place to “show up”. I am frequently on Zoom early to “chat” with Mary and class friends. It provides interaction with others, that I sorely miss, along with exercise workouts. – Barb MB.

I really resisted zoom yoga but now I am so glad that I am doing it with you and everyone each Monday night. I sleep better, my body moves better, and I don’t feel so 🧘🏻‍♂️❤️stiff and cranky! Thank you, you are the best. – Deb HD.

Taking yoga from Mary has kept me relatively pain-free without drugs for years. She has also helped me modify my practice to accommodate the limitations of my body. Now I am also taking her strength and balance class and getting stronger! Thanks, Mary. It feels so good to have my body move easily and without pain. Also, I value the friendships with Mary and my fellow yogis. There are some pretty cool people who take yoga!- Carol M.

I was immediately impressed with the warm, welcoming feeling I experienced during that first class. As I continued with Mary, I realized no two classes were alike, but each left me feeling great physically and spiritually. I recruited my husband to join me soon after. Today, my husband is 73 and I’m 68 and we feel much stronger and more flexible. We appreciate the variety of each class, as well as all the modifications and verbal cues provided to benefit our individual bodies and abilities. When we transitioned to ZOOM due to Covid-19, we were pleasantly surprised by how well Mary adapted her practice thru technology. Mary has enhanced our quality of life! A win-win for us as well as her students. We highly recommend Yoga by Mary!” – Susan & George R.

Thanks to years of practicing yoga, I feel a physical and psychological confidence that I did not have when I was younger. I’m stronger, more flexible, and have better balance than most friends my age. I am able to enjoy and savor retirement, a time in life when I’m finally liberated to fully pursue my interests. I’m convinced that yoga has played a major role in reaching this point. – Lon O.

Yoga is a part of my life. It’s like breath. It’s my prayer. My body requests it! Not only is it physically beneficial but has guided me through both happy and sad times. Sometimes I get emotional while practicing – tears of release and also of joy. I recently went on a hike in Oregon and most times was ahead of the group and they were mostly younger than me! I attribute my stamina and flexibility to yoga and dance. Yoga with Mary has been an exploration of senses, of self and spirit. I’ve acquired so much knowledge about my body and how it all works together. I’ve learned that the mind and body connection is inseparable. Looking forward to yoga in my 70s, 80s, 90s, and perhaps beyond! – Michelle S.

I started yoga classes 20+ years ago. My mom took up yoga in her later years and she told me many times, “I think you would like this!” I had begun transcendental meditation in high school, so I was open to the possibility … expanding consciousness. At first, I practiced yoga for stress relief—as a single parent raising adolescents–then teens—and working fulltime in a very demanding job. The unrelenting stress & chronic lack of deep sleep was taking a toll as fibromyalgia. Once I began practicing yoga (and changed jobs!), the fibromyalgia went away. Then my son died suddenly. Since then, yoga & beekeeping have been the saving graces in my life. Both are lifelines that help me keep moving & be flexible (on all levels). It reminds me to breathe. – Kate CF.

I want to take this moment and say THANK YOU to everyone who has rolled out their yoga mat with me over the past 20+ years. You may be a weekly student of mine on Zoom, attend workshops or retreats online or in-person, practice with me on YouTube, listen to meditations on my podcast, or move your body with me outside at community events. It does not matter where or when our paths crossed. I am changed because of you and this practice.

As I continue to take the seat of a yoga teacher, it is my commitment to show up wholeheartedly and share from my heart, inviting you into the journey to your best self, living a life of resilience and grace.