I am sure that many of you who have been following these yoga articles have now reached a point where you would like to have some guidelines on how to get down to practicing the yoga postures at home.
Before you start, there are several points which should be borne in mind and carried out, if you want to get the most you can out of your asana practice. Here are some pointers:
- Do your practice before and not after a meal
- Asanas come easier after taking a bath. Taking a bath or a shower before doing the postures refreshes both your body and your mind
- Make sure you have gone to the toilet before attempting the postures
- Regularity of practice is important. Try and set aside a specific time each day either in the morning or early evenings or both
- Make sure that these times are free from any other disturbances – turn your cell phone off
- Find a spot which is free from furniture, dust, insects and noise. Make sure there is plenty of fresh air circulating around you without being in a draught
- Do not work on the bare floor or on uneven ground but rather use a Yoga mat (made of rubber so that it does not slip) and use a folded blanket on top of it when sitting or lying down
- Wear loose clothing. Tight underwear will only restrict your movements
- If you have a long mirror at home it is a good idea to place it in such a position where you can see yourself in it. In this way you can help yourself by making gentle adjustments to your body
- Start your sessions by using the loosening up routines to warm up your body such as Salute to the Sun, The Swan and The Cat (See previous articles)
- Do not cram too many different postures into one session. Just a few will do, but be sure that you spend time on the repetition of each posture in the beginning. As you learn the scales on the piano so, by repeating the posture you will become proficient at it. Later you can learn to hold a posture but in the beginning use repetition.
- Balance your postures in each session so that all parts of your body can benefit such as doing a standing pose, a forward bend, a backwards bend and a twist
- Breathe deeply before starting a new posture
- Do not force any posture, go as far as you can, use no jerky movements, and rather move in a flowing manner. Remember that yoga is not gymnastics
- Become aware of what is happening to your body when you place into in different positions – what muscles are being stretched or contracted, where is your blood flowing to or being restricted, how your breathing is affected, what the surface of your skin feels like, which part of your body is taking more or less weight, where is your mind, are you focused on what you are doing
- End each session lying on your back in complete relaxation for a few moments.