Home Practice is the key to progressing your yoga practice. Class is great – but there is more, much more to yoga. When you begin to practice at home you really learn, really experience the transformative effects of yoga – on body, mind and spirit.
How can you get a Home Practice? It’s simple: get up tomorrow – practice – then do it every day after that. But of course, things are never that simple. It takes a routine method, time and effort to achieve it.
Start slow: Don’t set the bar too high by planning an hour of sequenced poses and feel disappointed if you don’t execute them all perfectly. Instead, do a few poses that you know and feel confident with. When you’ve finished, lie down for a five-minute Savasana. That way, you’ve got a 10 to 15 minute practice that’s all your own!
Be disciplined: Make your practice a priority. Do it every day. Keep with it for two weeks, and see if you feel better, physically and mentally. See if it gets easier. Pretty soon your 10-minute practice will grow to half an hour. Give yoga some space and time to develop.
Time and place: Choose a time of day and a place where you won’t be disturbed. If you can, set aside the same time each day. First thing in the morning is good, before you get caught up in your day and whilst the mind is quiet and receptive; but if afternoons or evenings work better for you, practice then.
How: Start with a few simple, familiar asanas like Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) and Adho Mukha Virasana, (Downward Facing Virasana). Follow with a few standing poses: Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle), Utthita Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose) and Virabhadrasana II (the second Warrior Pose). Finish with a seated forward bend, maybe Paschimottanasana, or lie with your legs up the wall. Then rest for several minutes: even if you’re short of time, always practice Savasana (Corpse Pose).
Cultivate the voice inside: Maybe at first you’ll hear your teacher’s voice reminding you to “lift your kneecaps” or “extend your lumbar”, but in time you’ll bring out your inner teacher. If you’re not sure about something, ask your teacher later. If it doesn’t feel right, stop. Don’t do poses you don’t feel confident with.
Work by the book: B. K. S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga is the bible of modern yogis in every method. Silva, Mira and Shyram Mehtas’ Yoga the Iyengar Way has big colour photos.
Props: In addition to your mat, ask your teacher which props will help you best in your practice. 5 foam blocks, 2 bricks, a belt and a blanket are standard. You’ll need them for Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Balance) vital to your practice. But you might find a bolster or a yoga chair useful too. Use a timer to build up time in your inversions.
Sequencing: You can find sequences in the books listed above and your teacher will be able to help you with some ideas at your level.
Above all, explore within your ability, with awareness and intelligence and yoga will truly become yours.
*Inspired by a Blog by IYNAUS https://iynaus.org/