Is it time for you to begin a short practice that you create at home? Practicing in your own space and time is very useful between your formal classes. I share a few tips over a couple of posts.
Note: This article
Is written for people who have at least an introductory knowledge of yoga. If you have never practiced, some terminology may be confusing. I encourage you to continue your regular classes with your teachers as we all need to be guided and have the detailed instructions that only your teacher can provide.
Yoga was never meant to an exercise class along the lines of kick-boxing and step aerobics. Traditionally, a teacher directly guided the students individual yoga practice. The exploration of Yoga with the teacher allowed individual goals to be set and followed, specific injuries or problem areas identified and asana modified accordingly. In the modern world private classes are available, but often are costly and group classes may be convenient for all. The great thing is that more people than ever before are experiencing yoga in their everyday lives , this is fantastic! The essence of yoga is to draw one’s attention inward, towards the heart centre. To experience the complete power of yoga, both physically and spiritually, at some point one must face your mat alone.It is empowering!
Starting a personal practice is not only for the experienced yoga devotee. Yoga students at all stages and levels of experience can include a short personal practice into their daily routine.
How to Begin
First, write a list of all the asanas (postures) that you know. It is OK if you know some names in English, some in Sanskrit and can’t quite remember the names of a few. Just choose a word or two that you understand.
Divide your asanas into the following categories:
Standing postures bring strength and weight bearing to the body.
Balancing strengthens the body and assists concentration of the mind.
Kneeling postures work with a lowered centre of gravity.
Sitting Postures focus on the pelvis the spine and the hip joints.
Supine (lying on the back) postures re- aligns the spine and stretch of the abdomen, increases mobility of the spine hips and opens the groins.
Prone (lying on the front) postures focus on the balance of lengthening the front and back body and maintaining the length of the spine and strengthen back muscles.
Inverted postures revitalise the whole body and mind and improve concentration as legs are weight free, the internal organs are activated, and blood brought to the head.
Twists ease stiffness of the spine, strengthen back muscles, work into hip joints and massage internal organs.
Forward bends allow the spine to lengthen, mobilise pelvis and lengthen ham strings. These postures also quiet the mind and calm the nervous system.
Back bends open the front of the body and strengthen the spine. These postures have an energising effect on the mind and body.
Side bends stretch intercostal muscles between ribs which maximises lung capacity & lengthen the torso.
Look over your list. If you have a very long list and a small window of time for your practice, consider dividing your postures into two different sessions. If you do this, divide them thematically, perhaps one day will focus on strength and another on balance or another on Flexibility. For a complete practice try to include postures from every category everyday.
More next post – Yoga is more than postures – Pranayama, meditation , relaxation as part of your personal practice.
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