Monday, 29 September 2014

September is National Yoga Month - be inspired to start your own home practice!

When you have been going to a yoga class for a while, have learned the basics and discovered the benefits of yoga for yourself you may want to practice yoga at home (see my Beginners’ series of videos. You may want to start with the video, Yoga Basics, Part 1-Beginners' Yoga: 1
Many people find starting a home practice difficult at first.  We live busy lives with constant demands on our time but it is well worth setting aside even 15 minutes a day when you can practice.  You need to find somewhere at home where you will not be disturbed by phone calls, e-mails, children etc and be completely focused on you and your practice.  Many people do not know where to start.  Start by listening to your body.  What do you need from your practice? A good stretch? To energize? Is there a specific area of your body that needs attention (for instance if you do sports, you may need to focus on shoulders, hamstrings and hips, if you suffer from respiratory ailments specific breathing techniques and chest opening may be your focus)? Or maybe a well-rounded practice will suit your needs?  What time of day will you be practicing?  If you practice in the morning an awakening, energizing practice of Sun Salutations and backbends might fit the bill.  If you practice in the evening a restorative, quieting practice might suit you but everyone is different.  Always start with some preparatory poses such as a full body stretch, gentle twist(reclined or seated), lateral stretch(seated) or hamstring opener such as Supta Padagusthasana (reclined) .  Cat/Cow to create flexibility in the spine and Downward facing Dog to stretch the shoulders and back of the legs complete the preparation.  Alternatively Sun Salutations are good preparation for standing poses and back bends. The more you practice the more in tune you will become with your needs.  Pause after each pose to feel the effects.  However long your practice, it is important to take some time to relax at the end.  This allows your body to receive the benefits of your practice.
Below are two examples of home practices to start you off:-
Energizing Practice
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Sun Salutation A- 3 rounds
Sun Salutation B -3 rounds
Standing Poses (time permitting)
Cobra (Bhujangasana)
Bow (Dhanurasana)
Pose of a Child
½ Lord of the Fishes (Arda Matsyendrasana)
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana
Evening Practice/Calming/Quieting
Easy Pose
Gentle Twist in Easy Pose
Lateral Stretch in Easy Pose
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – walk the feet forward to
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Moon Salutation- Link for the Moon Salutation video
Reclined Twist
Supported Shoulder Stand
Above all have fun, be playful with your yoga and work within the limitations of your body.

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