Practicing yoga alone can be difficult. Yoga is often taught in a setting where we are told what to do, how to do it and for how long. I must admit, as a teacher I know I do not serve every person’s needs and feel it is my duty to motivate others to start a self practice (even if you only have 5 minutes!). Facing the questions that arise: “What do I need?”, “How do I feel?”, “How do I want to practice?” can be both difficult and exciting. Here are some guidelines that I hope will help you on the journey:
1. Start sitting. Sitting is a great way to signal a pause, make a shift & turn inwards. In ayurvedic terms, sitting stimulates downward moving energy and a sense of grounding, bringing quiet and focus into the day.
2. Link movement & breath. Physical and mental energy can be balanced by graceful, conscious and even patterns. The movements don’t need to be complex- feeling and observing is the key.
3. Go on opening the body & creating heat. Move in a way you make space, open the hips, shoulders and chest and lengthen the spine. Using a set sequence and moving in an un-rushed but dynamic way can be of great help (use any or all Surya Namaskar versions).
4. Back on your feet. Standing is a great way to move safely through major asana groups (forward bending, back bending, twisting, balance). Either with a set sequence or an open roadmap, give yourself time to explore. Being on the feet and legs brings the alertness & presence required to go deeper.
5. Add something new. Keep yourself interested and curious by practicing new poses, adding variations or trying out new ways of doing old things as often as possible.
6. Invert. unless you are menstruating or suffer from high blood pressure, turn upside down as a way to improve circulation, boost digestion and increase immunity.
7. Cool down. Allow enough time to be on your back and/or focus on legs, feet and hips to promote the downward flow of energy that brings rest and helps find the quiet required for savasana.
8. Be still, do Savasana. Don’t skip this time to settle and connect; be without doing. In the fast pace of our lives and the constant stimulation we live in, this is one of the most important tools to transform, awaken & find presence.
9. Enjoy the time you make for yourself and be happy with how it goes.