Posts Tagged ‘home practice’

Today’s yoga

I haven’t skipped any yoga days, but I’ve missed a couple of writing days. And I have to say that Saturday and Sunday were pretty lame for yoga. I wasn’t feeling well, so my practice was nothing much.

Today was my first day back to early-morning walking. I got up at 5, did yoga for 40 minutes, and then went for a 45 minute walk. The yoga was all seated poses, because I’m still coddling my post-surgical foot. Swastikasana, adho mukha swastikasana, dandasana, paschimottanasana, upavista konasana (my very hardest pose and one I’m trying to do every day), baddha konasana, supta padangusthasana, savasana. I’m trying to do these poses very slowly and relaxedly, as Paul Grilley proposes in Yin Yoga. It’s hard not to be hasty (“How’s my time? Do I have time for one more before my walk? Am I gonna be late?”).

So far that’s 10 days in a row. (I started daily practice before the beginning of WoYoPracMo.)

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Yoga du jour

Today Kate and Priscilla came over and we did a back sequence out of Yoga Journal, maybe from September or so. It was a very gentle practice, and a good way for all three of us to get started again.

My plan is to practice early in the mornings, unless somebody (Kate, Priscilla, Jill?) wants to practice with me, in which case I can do it other times. I’m also going to try to attend a couple of classes a week once my podiatrist gives me the OK, which should be in late January.

And my blogging plan is to write something about each day’s practice. So those of you who don’t care can just skip over those posts. It’s sort of a personal yoga diary, at least for WoYoPracMo. Comments are always welcome, though.

[Edit: I wrote this on Sunday and forgot to post it. So it really precedes my other yoga post.]

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I’ve signed up for World Yoga Practice Month, or WoYoPracMo, which is similar to National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo. You just commit to practicing yoga every day for the month of January. You don’t get in trouble for slacking off. It’s just a way of giving some structure and impetus to your home practice.

I had a really good solid home practice going last year. It transformed the way I did yoga. For the last 7 years I’ve been taking classes at the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Center of Lawrence. I’ve had an off-and-on home practice some of the time. From June of 2006 to January of 2007 I did yoga every day. In February my father died, and my practice fell off the rails. I don’t know why grief should have shifted things, but it did. Once I got off track, I couldn’t quite get back on, and my only practice was in class once or twice a week. So I’m very glad to have an external reason to practice daily again.

Benefits of daily home practice:

  • My practice became more internal. When you’re in class, you’re focused on your poses, sure, but also on the teacher, and on the other students. I try to be in the front of the class so that I’m not distracted by the other students. When I’m practicing at home, I pay attention to my own alignment, breathing, and focus.
  • My practice got stronger. When I first started practicing alone, I tended to use asanas that I like and that are easy for me. Then I decided that I should add in at least one hard one every time. Then I learned about practice for study from Mary Obendorfer, in which your practice is focused on one pose and you use related poses to develop the one. And in that situation, I do poses that I might not otherwise do.
  • I learned more about sequencing asanas. If I just start, with no focus, I am likely to practice for a shorter time and in a more random way. That’s not the case when I practice with my friend Jill. We can do a thoughtful and valuable practice choosing asanas on the fly. But on my own I seem to get lazy. Sometimes I write out a sequence for myself, and sometimes I use one from a book or Yoga Journal, and sometimes I think it through in advance.
  • A big one: All my poses improved and I became stronger and more limber. Now that benefit is mostly gone, after a year of not practicing much at home and two months of foot-surgery related inactivity. I look forward to getting it back.

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