STARTING A PERSONAL YOGA PRACTICE

Nothing is as creative and empowering as a personal practice combined with periodic instruction with a trained teacher. Personal practice is key as it shows you what flows, and what needs more practice by what you are experiencing daily. Unhealthy habits, like alignment, are easily be corrected by a teacher.

Here are a few helpful hints in starting and continuing a personal, home yoga practice.

1) Make it fun with music or candles or a personal touch. Create a nourishing environment with no distraction that may mean closing off phone and possibly family for a short time.

2) Best to make it short at first so you can find time in the morning or evening to do it every day. Just ten minutes or longer is a good commitment at first; it will avoid disappointment with yourself. As you become familiar with the program you can add more poses and exercises. Regularity is key to success.

3) Yoga practice is best done with beginning, middle and ending sequences. It is recommended that the practice follow a wave pattern of slow, medium, slow pacing, with always comfortable and smooth breathing. The following practice can include many variations or a highly shortened sequence of poses.

BELOW IS A SIMPLE OUTLINE OF PRACTICE.

* Creating Boundaries for nourishment (Time, sound, environment).

* Setting Intention; Choosing your goal and asking for guidance from your inner teacher. Review asana sequence.

* Breath awareness; Ujjaye whispering breath in stillness; 5- 15 minutes

* Loosening exercises; Joint Freeing Series, rocking with breath.

* Warm up sequences like Palm Tree Vinyasa or Sun Salutations.

* Strength isolation exercises as recommended; standing poses and poses recommended for your personal imbalances.

* Cool down poses like twisting and inverted poses. Moving and breathing slower.

* Deep Relaxation or Shavasana (corpse pose) can be shortened to four minutes but is usually done for 7-15 minutes.

* Energetic breathing Pranayama or meditation of your choice. (optional)

MORE TIPS;
* If you are tired or ill practice only what heals you. Go slower and enjoy the slower flow for a change without many strengthening poses.

* Always try and practice poses even time on both sides unless you are practicing to correct a specific muscular imbalance. In this case you can practice more on one side than the other.

* Yoga poses are not gymnastic exercises. They are positions that create energy patterns, which can change your energy field and your way of living life.

* If it hurts, don’t do it that way. As Patangali said it in the sutras; “Yoga asana should be steady and confortable” – II.26.

* Obviously there are three best times to practice during the day; before breakfast, Before dinner or before bed are best. However for parents the morning is best. For those that work long days, before dinner is best, to de-stress and re-energize. For late night practice, go slow and be sure to eliminate the back bends, as they can keep you from sleep.

* Always finish your practice with Shavasana ( Corpse Pose). One of the main purposes of yoga is to be able to do Shavasana well, and to go deeper and deeper with it, toward the goal of peace within and release of pain.

Makaan Burt makaan@estreet.com