Start Your Home Yoga Practice Today
What’s the nicest, most enjoyable thing in your life? One of the most enjoyable in mine is waking up to my home yoga practice, a cherished routine pursued every morning before breakfast. Starting the day with a mindful stretch ensures both a healthy body and a happy mind.
How to begin? Simply get out your yoga mat (or a towel or folded blanket), lie down on your back- limbs akimbo- and breathe. Breathe from your belly, relaxing more on each outbreath. When you feel everything inside you has settled, it’s time to begin some movements.
Home Practice Online Summit
I recently ‘attended’ an Online Home Yoga Summit hosted by the vivacious Christina Jagusiak from Melbourne. Christina studied yoga through Satyananda Ashram. She interviewed seven high profile yoga teachers, one each day. My favourites were Australia’s Simon Borg-Olivier (www.yogasynergy.com), Alison Smith from California (www.yogawithalison.com) and the redoubtable Kara- Leah Grant from New Zealand (www.theyogalunchbox.co.nz)
Lucky-me has enjoyed a thirty-year home yoga practice (well, thirty years next January) so I was interested to observe other participants’ takes on the topic. The bits that resonated most were not “do this posture, do that posture, raise that arm, stretch that leg” but the basics. The very fundamental gift of home practice: the opportunity to stop, to pause, to breathe, to stretch and most of all, to be present
Home Practice = Being Present
Coming back to yourself on a daily basis, touching base with your heart and mind, is a priceless endeavour. Ahhhh. As we rest, slow down and breathe in yoga, we allow ourselves to switch off momentarily from the usual busy, chatty agenda churning around in our head. Ahhhh. Stop for a moment now, while reading this, and let out a slow, deep sighing exhalation. Ahhhh. Make a noise. Let your breath go all the way out to the very end. Ahhhh. (Feel better?)
As a bonus, our body gets stronger as daily we move through a five, ten, twenty minute sequence (whatever you can make time for) on a regular basis.
After lying down and settling for a few moments, I like to move into simple warm-ups, gentle stretches and a few well-known yoga moves such as cat, downward dog and Salute to the Sun. If you attend a yoga class, do some stretches you remember from class. Or just listen to your body and see where it wants to go: make up your own yoga. If you’re familiar with yogic breathing practice pranayama after your postures, followed by a minute or two of breath-awareness meditation or chanting.
Voila, ready to start the day. Keep it simple. Start small.
On the days of an unavoidable sparrow-fart start, I have to skimp… and consequently feel a bit junk-yardish. At these times I wonder “how oh how do people get by without a daily yoga stretch?” and remember back to my pre-yoga days. The blurry days. With yoga, memory improves, mood improves, colours get brighter. It’s not just about fitness. It’s so worth it.
Not convinced yet?
Read on if you’d like to hear more rationale. Think of your body as a building with windows and doors, with plumbing, elevators and air-conditioning. You live and work in that building. Think of the maintenance involved in keeping the building functional. Consider its engineering.
The spine is the scaffolding that holds the body upright: it needs to be strong and flexible so the other ‘features’ of the body work optimally. If posture is weak and slumpy, the building won’t function properly. The doors and windows won’t open and close: our breathing and oxygen nourishment will be impaired and our cells and metabolic processes will suffer. Our senses (seeing, smelling, hearing etc) will not be fresh and alert.
If the building/body is slightly out of alignment, the plumbing (digestive and elimination systems), elevators (cardiovascular system) and air-con (nervous system) will be compromised. Are you getting the picture? A simple daily yoga practice is going to correct postural imbalances that lead to so many of our aches and pains, our disorders and depressions. It’s going to turn our life around.
My advice: get started with a home yoga practice and start every day on the front foot!
Christina’s Empower with Home Yoga is an online course to guide and support you in creating a regular home yoga practice. Christina will work with you to build and establish a yoga routine that works for you. Includes skype and email contact; audio and video instruction. $250 (great value! http://www.satyaliveyoga.com.au/traditional-course/
For asana inspiration in pictures go to http://www.satyaliveyoga.com.au/author/christina/
Alison Smith and Kara-Leigh Grant also provide home practice materials on their websites (see links above)