In the US, a consistent yoga practice for me meant buying an unlimited monthly pass at a studio and then attending class as often as I could. Yoga studios operate a tad differently here in Italy: Unlimited monthly yoga passes are a rarity; And most studios require you to register for a specific course, registering for a period of one or three months at a frequency of either once or twice a week. For me, this model makes a lot of sense and would be a great complement to a regular home practice, but is not enough yoga for me on its own. Even before moving to Italy, I was wanting more of a home practice. Yoga, after all, is a technique to become more self aware, which is generally easier to do when you’re alone. But ultimately, the move to Italy motivated me to start rolling out my mat at home more regularly.
Slowly, slowly, over the last year, I’ve started building my home practice; aiming for six days a week with at least 15 minutes of yoga/day. Here are some tools I’ve found helpful along the way that I think will be helpful for any yogi living abroad or on-the-go:
An online yoga studio offering classes in various styles and levels with class times ranging from 5 minutes to 2 hours. They offer a free 15-day trial; membership is $18/month after that. I’m partial to Kia’s Kundalini classes & Jodi’s Ashtanga classes. Both of these teachers also teach in the flesh at YogaWorks, where I practiced in Los Angeles. Another online yoga studio (that I haven’t tried yet) is YogaVibes. They also offer a 15-day free trial; membership is $20/month.
Ashtanga Yoga app for the iPhone
This tool is most useful for the Ashtanga yoga practitioner, but almost any one could pick and choose postures from the sequence to design a practice they’re comfortable with. The app includes photos, descriptions, and audio for each pose in the Ashtanga Primary Series. It also has a slideshow autoplay functionality that will play the audio for the entire series, with the choice of a beginner’s or intermediate’s audio track. App is $1.99 and is also supported on the iPad and iPod Touch.
I first found Yoga Download on iTunes, where they offer free 20-minute classes via iTune Podcasts. You can download their free 20-minute sessions on their website, where you can also purchase longer versions of the classes. Classes vary in price, but in general a 60-minute class costs $1.99 to stream once and $6.99 to purchase. One of my favorite features of Yoga Download is that you can download for free the pose guide for many of the classes, which can provide some ideas and inspiration when you’re designing your own sequence.
Of course, it’s hard to replace the fine tuning adjustments of a teacher or the feeling of community you get when you attend a yoga class; but creating a strong home practice will ensure you get your time in on the mat — wherever you are and no matter how nutsy your life may seem.
Hope this helps!