As a beginning student of yoga, the first thing we have to do is develop the habit of attending a weekly class. Then, if we really want to experience the gifts of yoga, as detailed in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, we need to develop a home practice. And, that's not easy! As Sharon often tells students, the body and the mind both like the status quo and resist change. And, because building a home practice means change for both the body and the mind, they resist your developing a home practice.
In class, you learn technique, discover your body's particular habits, and learn each pose's tendencies. To master technique, change your habits, and move towards more aligned and balanced poses, you need to practice on your own. This is even more important if you're working with a sequence designed to address an injury or health concern.
That said, the gift of practicing in the Iyengar tradition is certainly not just on the physical plane. The ultimate gift is that as the physical body becomes more aligned, the mind begins to quiet. And, over years of practice, as the mind quiets, eventually, the intelligence of the head, consciousness, descends to the level of the heart, and we experience what Patanjali has told us-
I.3 tadah drastuh svarupe avasthanam- Then, the seer dwells in his own true splendor
Or, as a well known mantra says-
Om mani padme hum- Salutations to the jewel of consciousness which has reached the seat of the heart
While eventually, students may practice every day, in the beginning it can be very challenging to practice for even 15 minutes, two or three times a week. To help facilitate and support each student developing a personal practice, the center offers open practices. During an open practice, students work on their own without input from Sharon, but, more importantly without the distractions which may make practicing at home more difficult.
Finally, from time to time, Sharon leads a special class dedicated to helping students begin a home practice or deepen an existing one.