Do you feel that you can never practice yoga if you don’t go to the studio or have a teacher guide you? Do you feel a lack of motivation to get on the mat at home? When you are traveling, do you take a complete break from practice because you just cannot imagine building your own sequence? When the teacher says, “practice at home”, do you wonder what that even means? Is yoga homework an inconceivable idea to you?
The biggest fallacy people have about practicing on their own is that it should match the intensity, rigour and duration of their “studio/teacher” class. Therefore, it becomes a 0 or 100 practice. But, what about a 20, 45 or 60 practice? Isn’t that better than 0? It’s a little bit like driving. Yes, you can drive at a 150 kmph and reach your destination fast, but a 70 kmph will also take you there nicely. You cannot argue that it is better to not start at all..
In order to help you start the engine on your own, we will create a series of posts with tips.
BEGIN WITH THE SPINE
Starting your practice with some easy spinal work like Bhujangasana, easy Sethubandasana or Shalabhasana will awaken the energy within, taking you further and deeper into your practice.
USE WALLS, TABLES AND RAILINGS AS PROPS
You will be surprised how much assistance can come from seemingly obstructive things in a room like door handles, window bars, chairs and most importantly, walls. Railings can help prop your legs to open up your hips, walls can help practice leg balancing poses, chairs can aid greatly in spinal twists. The list is endless. Think of apparent barriers as opportunities.
PRACTICE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
If you have space constraint at your home or a hotel room, just focus on postures that do not need you to spread your arms wide or separate your legs too much. There are many, many postures that you can do in very small spaces. Focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot. Try Downward Dog, Upward Dog, Veerabhadra 1,2 and 3, Utkatasana, Garudasana, Dhanurasana, Ustrasana, Janusirsasana, Sarvangasana and even Sirsasana. Yoga is for everyone and for every place, so let your practice not suffer because you think you don’t have adequate space.
JUST ROLL OUT YOUR MAT
The simplest thing to do is to not have any specific plan and just roll out the mat. Planning can be intimidating. So, be easy on yourself. In fact, you don’t even need a mat. Remember, even a gentle pranayama practice takes promise and focus. Start with simple movements – maybe just Pawanmuktasana, Balasana (Child’s Pose) and Downward Dog. Repeat the few simple postures and stay in each position for 15 long breaths. Before you know it, you will intuitively add a couple of more movements. And if not, you can always take the full benefit of a 15 minute mindful practice. All you have to do is start. Drop the idea of a perfect place, perfect time or a perfect teacher in order to practice.
to be continued...