You might come home from work with the intention of grabbing your yoga mat and heading to the yoga studio for an evening flow class, but sometimes life gets in the way.
Perhaps you learn right before you pick up your car keys or hop on your bike that there is a traffic jam clogging your route, or an impending storm that persuades you to stay inside. Maybe you think you will be just a little too late to make it before the start of class, so you opt out.
Whatever the circumstances, there is always a way to stay loyal to your yoga routine. The following is a simple guide that will give you some tips on how to practice yoga for 20-30 minutes at home when you can’t make it to the studio.
Getting started is the biggest challenge. There are a million distractions that can keep us from taking care of our bodies, but usually once we get started, those deterrents fall away and leave us with the wherewithal to forge ahead. One suggestion is to find something that gets you excited about practicing. If putting on some soft music or lighting a stick of incense sparks your motivation to roll out your mat, do it.
A great way to begin is to come into child’s pose. Scan your body with your internal gaze and notice how you feel. By listening to your body, you can hone in on exactly what you need, verses taking a class that already has a predetermined design.
Once you have a clear concept of your body’s needs, oblige. For a tight back, loosen up with some cat-cows. For stiff calves and hamstrings, pedal out your feet in downward dog. If you are feeling weak in your upper body, stay in plank pose for a few extra breaths, or practice some chaturanga pushups. When you have the luxury of targeting your needs, a little bit will go a long way.
Pick one passive pose for your hips, shoulders, or legs, such as pigeon, cow face pose, or seated forward bend, and hold for three full minutes. You will be surprised at the effect those three minutes will have on your muscle tone and flexibility, not to mention your patience and tenacity.
The whole purpose of savasana is to allow the assimilation of changes to take place in mind and body. Skipping it means those subtle changes might go unnoticed, or worse, be unappreciated. Make sure you take the time to simply be quiet and reflect upon the reasons why you practice. Taking a genuine and personal interest in yoga will help motivate you for your next home practice session when you cannot make it to the studio.
May 1st, 2012