By Jules White.
‘Why not meet up and practice once a week together?’ Based upon these wise words of our yoga teacher, Jo and I embarked on a whole new world of home practice. As you can see from our photo we listened and gave it a shot. We practiced for about an hour with all the distractions you can think of: children, animals (in this case it was a cockatiel – she is sitting on my chest!), partners and the general running of a household.
It was challenging as one of the instructions from Shayna was to not talk while we were practicing. Other than a few giggles and giving each other instruction we achieved silence for most of the session. Our props were not ideal and I must confess we did not hold the poses as long as we do in class, but it was worth it. I also loved the fact that one of my daughters came and joined in for a little while.
An aspect of the home practice is that I get to listen to my own body and apply what I have learnt or heard in class. As it has been mentioned, yoga is a journey of self-discovery and this is becoming more and more apparent to me. When it is suggested in class that we need to feel the sides of our armpits and fly them backward – it would be a dream to be able to actually know this area of my body and apply those instructions with precision – rather than lifting my shoulders and hoping I am getting the pose correct! The detail and knowledge required to perform Iyengar Yoga is ever-changing and fascinating.
Like from any other class after our home practice session I felt relaxed, centered and positive. There was a quiet sense of contentment and stillness when we were lying in savasana. It was interesting to note that when I came back to my next yoga class I felt stronger, steadier and more confident.
Just an aside: At my last class Shayna mentioned a competition for Term 4 – attend two classes a week and practice at home for 3 days. I was instantly excited as this certainly appealing to my pitta-vatta nature and competitive side. But more importantly it is a chance to strengthen my home practice even more. So I did some investigating on the internet and have pulled together some tips to help you with your home practice.
- Commit – make a sankalpa – a resolve – that you are going to practice yoga at home and make it a priority in your life.
- Have a program – sorted. Shayna has one written out for us already with a journal to keep track.
- Make space – Try and have a space in your house where you can roll your mat out with space around it. In winter my yoga gear is kept in the corner of our dining room as it is the warmest place.
- Have a routine – This one is really important. And a great tip I learnt from Michelle Bridges is to PLAN. Pull out your diary on Sunday night and make 3 appointments with your self as to when you are going to do yoga. Write them in and stick to it.
- Timing – the best time of the day to perform yoga is in the morning when the Satva is present. Try getting up at 5:30am and take note of how you feel during the day. If you are not an early riser then evening may be an option with restorative poses.
- Props – having the right props allows you to access the correct alignment for each posture. I have over the years been slowly collecting the right props and making do when I don’t.
- Set a minimum amount of practice for yourself each day – 10 minutes every day is better than none or 2 hours on one day. Gradually build up your time.
- Respect your body – with your poses be gentle and do not cause any himsa (violence).
- Take the time to just be – always start and finish your practice and poses in stillness.