There is something about practicing yoga in a group that really helps you develop your practice. The benefits of practicing yoga with others are many. When we practice together, we are challenged to keep a certain pace, try new poses, and honor our boundaries all while keeping focus and maintaining our breath.
When we all show up together to practice day after day, week after week, we develop a sense of accountability that helps us simply show up to class (which can be the hardest part of the practice!). A sense of community develops over time and we start to feel like “we’re all in this together,” which can provide the momentum we need to come to class on a regular basis.
Practicing yoga in a group also offers us a learning experience we might not get when practicing alone with only our own body and guidance. In class we are introduced to many different pose variations and possibilities that we may not have realized on our own.
Perhaps the best part of practicing yoga in a group is the energy in the room. It just feels good to breathe and practice in silence with others. The yoga practice helps us optimize our energy, and in a group this benefit is magnified. Ever leave class feeling wonderful even if you showed up less-than-delighted? You’re not alone. Yoga tends to be a transformative practice, especially in a group setting.
On the other hand, practicing yoga in a group has its challenges. Mostly, practice in a group can be distracting. We often look around the room eyeing others’ poses or outfits. When we practice with others we tend to compare our own practice with others, or even our own bodies with others. This can lead to self-consciousness and feelings of inadequacy (or superiority, ahem). But the yoga practice itself can help us become aware of such thoughts and feelings so that we can transform them.
What unfolds on your yoga mat serves to help you notice your patterns so that you might deepen the beneficial patterns and reroute the negative patterns toward a positive direction. See you in class!