Happy Friday to all my fruity friends, I hope it has treated you with respect.
It is HAWT out here in beautiful Van-city, and I am not complaining one little bit. I love the heat. The only time when it might bother me is when I am trying to fall asleep. Other than that, bring on the heat waves!
I have received a couple of requests on how one would go about setting up a home yoga practice. This is a bit of a sticky wicket for me as a yoga teacher, but I will do my best, mkay dawgs?
OK friends, first things first. I am a 200 hour certified yoga teacher through Yogaworks, and am registered with the Yoga Alliance. I am currently furthering my studies with a Yoga Therapy program, a mentorship program and a volunteer position with my 200 hour teacher. (Yes, I am obsessed, but I assume you must have gathered that by now, no?) That being said, I do not know you, your body, or your limitations. PLEASE do not take anything I say here as law. What I have to say here is a compilation of all that I have learned so far, as well as personal experience. You and only you know what does and does not work for your body. Also, this is not meant to be a posture instruction post. I will not be covering proper form or breath techniques for any postures in this post, otherwise it would actually be the mother of all posts, and all posts to come. I am simply here to help with sequencing, assuming you have some knowledge of the yoga postures and how they are to be carried out. Practice patience, kindness, awareness and caution, as with any new fitness regime. I am not your doctor, personal yoga teacher or yo mama, so I hereby relinquish any responsibility for what you do to yo self, alright?
Fewf, I am glad we got that over with. Onto the more fun stuff.
There are a million and a half reasons that people would rather do their asana (yoga posture) practice at home, rather that at a studio. I get it. Studios can be VERY expensive. It can be challenging to find a teacher that you resonate with. Class schedule and your schedule may not always match up. It can be very time-consuming, traveling to the studio, taking the class, getting home ect. It may even be that there are no studios where you live, or only sub par studios.
That being said, it is my personal opinion that everyone should take a professional yoga class, at least a couple of times, before attempting a home practice. There you will gain experience with the postures, you will gain some self-awareness and self knowledge, and you will get hands on instruction. I know for myself that I ALWAYS thought I had good form and alignment in my postures, until I went to class and was corrected. This is a really good thing! It helps you to prevent injury. So pleasepleasepleaseprettyplease with a cherry on top, take at least a few classes at the studio, before you take your mat into your own hands.
After you have taken some classes and are feeling pretty ok with what you know, you can take your practice into your home studio. But where to start? I know that I used to want to practice at home myself, but have no idea what poses to do when, how long to do them, and especially how I should get the whole thing rolling.
I like to start with Sun Salutations. You can start seated, or in child’s pose, and warm up slower. Do a few cat-cow’s a couple downward facing dogs, and anything else you feel you need before you jump into your sun salutes. Sun Salutes are awesome for connecting breath with movement, warming up the muscles and joints, getting your mind focused on your practice and so so much more. You DO remember Sun Salutations, right?
You have Tadasana;
Reach for the sky;
Folding forward, Uttanasana;
Next, you will shoot back to Chataurungadandasana;
Up dog (dawg) yourself;
Lift your sit bones to Downward facing dog;
Jump back to the front of your mat, coming half way up for Ardha uttanasana;
And surrender to gravity again;
Circle the arms overhead, coming back up to stand;
Tada-sana! You done and did it!
Give yourself at least three rounds of sun salutes before moving on. I like to do at LEAST five, and up to ten. I loves me my sun salutes.
Next up, standing postures. There are a million to choose from, all with unique and specific benefits. They tend to be good for strengthening the legs, cultivating balance and stability, as well as being generally accessible postures for most people.
Some examples are;
And extended right angle posture’
Other options? Twisting triangle(parivritta trikonasana), twisting right angle (parivritta parshvakonasana), Parshvotanasana, warrior 1 (virabhadrasana 1) and so on and so on.
I like to hold my standing postures for at least ten breaths, but you can do more! Focus on alignment, and finding a steadiness in your posture. Do a few, I like to do them one at a time, coming back to the top of my mat in between. Another option is to sequence a couple of postures together. That could look something like;
Warrior 1 – warrior 2 – triangle – side angle – reverse warrior to Vinyasa. Repeat to the other side
Ok friends! Lets break here. I will resume and finish this mother of a post tomorrow!
All my love.