Back to School: Yoga Edition


Remember the scene in The Sound of Music when Leisl tells her new governess Maria that she’s too old to need her help?

“I’m Leisl. I’m 16 years old, and I don’t need a governess.” 

Cut to a gazebo, a thunderstorm and a soaking wet Leisl climbing through Maria’s bedroom window — a girl who, of course, very much does need a governess.


After practicing at home most mornings since my regular yoga class went on a late summer break, I almost didn’t make it to my first class of the new session.  It had been six weeks since my last class but, after a tiring week, I was having trouble getting myself out of the house and over to the yoga studio.

Couldn’t I practice at home? Save the commute to class? Was there anything to be gained from practicing with a teacher?

One two hour class later and I realized how much I still need a teacher.  Who else would challenge me in a pose with a look and a quick but assured touch? Who else would make me keep my arms outstretched for oh so many minutes as we worked on our standing poses?  Who else would guide me through a series of incredible feeling leg stretches and twists I’d never come up with on my own? Who else would see to it that I take the time for a proper Savasana?

Let’s face it: Who else would get me to practice for two hours straight.

Home practice is great.  The best.  Essential for parents, in particular.  (No driving, no parking, and if done in early morning or late night or nap time, no child care required. ) But nothing will ever take the place of practicing with a classroom of yogis, and one dedicated teacher.

Jessica Berger Gross is the author of enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer (Skyhorse). She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and three-year-old son. “Like” her author page on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @jbergergross. Visit her at