Most of us start out on our yoga journey by taking group classes. This is a fantastic way to learn yoga. You will be in the hands of a trained professional who can teach safe alignment and keep you injury free. At some point, after you’ve absorbed the fundamentals, you might develop an interest in practicing yoga at home.
This is easier said than done. As hard as it may be to get yourself to a yoga class, once there you are mentally dedicated to staying. Barring illness or injury, it is unlikely you would ever get up and leave.
In contrast, the home environment is full of distractions that challenge our commitment to practice. Phones ring. People come and go. Kids and pets don’t understand the ‘Do Not Disturb’ edict you have laid out for them (I’m talking to you Seabiscuit).
I struggled for a long time to establish a home practice and I’d like to share a little about how I finally made it work. Here are a list of common reasons your home practice is nonexistent, followed by my tips.
What would you think if I called you a poser? Isn’t everyone who practices yoga a poser? Or are we? I guess that depends on how you define poser. I’m thinking of it in 2 ways:
a person who aligns their body into yoga poses
a person who acts like something they aren’t
From my perspective, we all start out being both. Now you might be saying, wait just one minute missy, I love yoga. I’m no poser! Let me explain.
Can you remember when you first stepped on a yoga mat? For me, it was at Innerlight yoga studio in Newport, RI. It was 1996. This was a traumatically whirlwind year for me. I started a new job as a software engineer with IBM. I had recently moved to Rhode Island, having renovated a small cottage on the Sakonnet River with my husband. It was to be our dream home. It was also the year my husband died of leukemia. Looking back, I don’t know how I made it through that challenging year.
Sequencing a yoga class is akin to choreographing a dance. Like a dance, a yoga class should have a sense of flow and feel coherent. At the same time, it should target a variety of postures to open energy channels throughout the body.
There are hundreds of basic yoga poses. Add to to those, the myriad variations of these postures and teachers have thousands of postures to choose from. Sorting through these variations to create a fluid and safe class sequence can be a real challenge. This challenge, luckily, doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with a basic framework and add variety from there. Continue reading →
I’m in a Power yoga class standing in a Figure 4 balance. My mat is near the front wall of the room. I really don’t like this spot in the room (topic for another blog).
The light behind me is casting the shadow of my wobbly Figure 4 onto the wall in front of me. I can’t stop looking at it. Do I really wobble that much? Watching my shadow wobble is causing me to wobble. I’m trying to find another spot to look at, but I’d have to lift my gaze really high or send it way off to one side to do that. This would throw me off even more. I continue to wobble until I fall out of the pose.