I have set homework for my students this Christmas – to set up (or maintain) a regular practice. Regular practice of yoga helps to protect your body and calm your mind – but it needs to be regular.
Practicing regularly can be difficult. We are all busy, especially at this time of year. However, it is the regularity of your practice that makes it most effective. I think it is better to practice for just 15 minutes every day than to practice for 2 hours once a week. Obviously, 2 hours every day would be even better but we have to be realistic when we start out. Start small, keep it simple and your practice will grow steadily.
In the past (maybe even quite recently) I have talked myself out of practicing because I haven’t got time to do inversions or I can’t be bothered to move furniture to make space or I am too tired to do standing poses or I can’t find my blocks…. I can be quite creative when procrastinating! If instead, I just get on with it – do a downward dog in the kitchen, whatever, I remember why I do it and what I want to do next. You only need a level area of ground to do yoga and you only need to do a few simple poses to feel the benefit of it.
If you need some ideas of what to do, I am suggesting the following;
Supta Padangustasana – lying on your back, legs extending, thigh bones towards the back thighs. Extend you right leg up towards the ceiling with a belt around the foot. Keep the kneecaps lifting (back knees open) and the right side waist long. Lengthen the leg bones and allow the muscles to release as you exhale. Repeat on the other side. You can do this a few times each side.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (face down dog pose) with your hands into the wall. Turn the fingers out, so you have your thumbs and index fingers against the wall.
Virasana (sitting hero pose) using as much height as you need to sit on so that your knees are comfortable.
Of course, you can add in any standing poses you like and end with a shoulder stand, a forward bend or a resting pose before savasana.
This is not a sequence as such, just poses we have been working on in the classes this term. The instructions are not comprehensive – they are intended as reminders for my students. If you are new to yoga it is best to learn the poses in a class where a qualified teacher can correct you and keep you safe. And if you can’t remember the names you could ask Santa for a yoga book!
Once you start to practice every day, however little, you will notice if you miss it. You will find time to practice for longer and you will really notice the benefit. Make it your New Year resolution!