DON’T OBSESS ABOUT THE RIGHT SEQUENCE
Sequence is important but it is not the absolute necessity. Just make sure that you listen to your body. A few things to keep in mind – warm up gradually, try to not end your practice with back bends, do spinal twists after deep back and forward bends, rest in Child’s pose every once in a while to re-energise, don’t skip savasana. Surrender to the energy within and let it decide for you.
SURYANAMASKARS, IF NOTHING ELSE
Suryanamaskar is an incredibly beneficial practice that strengthens the body, increases flexibility, improves circulation, stimulates glands and promotes holistic wellbeing. You can slow it down, spending time in each posture, watching your body and your breath. You can also make it a dynamic practice and practice several rounds with a lot of intensity. After a few rounds, you may discover its meditative quality that will propel you to continue the practice for many more rounds than you had initially planned for.
THERE IS NO RIGHT DURATION
Don’t beat yourself over the inability to practice for an hour or 90 mins. Even a five- minute downward dog can be an adequate practice on days when you are not feeling well or you are busy.
DON’T OBSESS ABOUT ALIGNMENT
Alignment is important but do not let that stop you from practicing postures. When you attend a class, pay attention to alignment cues like “don’t arch your back in this pose” or “keep your knees straight here” or “open your shoulders here”. When practicing at home, try to incorporate these cues. However, if there is no teacher to adjust you or you are not sure of the perfect alignment, don’t make a decision to not practice at all. You can always ask the teacher about the alignment in your next class. In fact, when you practice on your own, you will develop more awareness and bring genuine questions/clarifications to class. This will only deepen your learning and your practice.
Instead of practicing many postures, practice a few postures many times. Every time, notice how your body and breath have changed. Increase the amount of time you spend in each posture, so that the body gets adequate chance to open up and the breath is allowed to flow well. The human body is generally capable of an incredible range of motion. By repeating postures, you will discover this and also reduce chances of injury. Start small and with every repetition, go just a little bit further.
AIM FOR A BALANCED PRACTICE
If you are not working to deepen a specific posture, try to work in a way that results in a complete practice – Suryanamaskars, standing postures, back bends, forward bends, spinal twists, core strengthening, inversions, breathing practices and relaxation. If done mindfully, this will take you 30-45 mins easily.
FIX A PLACE AT HOME
Generally, choosing a dedicated area at your home can help you zone into your practice fully. As you keep practicing at that same spot, it will train your body and mind to immerse into your practice each time you are there with your mat in front of you. Just looking at it will be the spark you need.