Sunday, November 1, 2009

Home Yoga Practice ideas

Practicing between your weekly yoga classes will help you improve your poses (asanas) more quickly, and will give you greater health benefits.   Students have told me that part of the reason they don't practice is that they don't know what to practice, or they think they'll do the poses wrong.

If you're a beginner, a good way to start your home yoga practice is to try to remember three asanas that you did in your most recent class, and do those 2 or 3 times that week.  You don't have to do them perfectly!   Just the process of doing what you can remember will help you learn them more quickly than if you only do them in class.   As a beginner, first focus on how to place your arms and legs, hands and feet, and head in the yoga asanas.    Practice straightening the arms and legs in poses that require straightening, and practice lifting and opening your chest in the poses that require that (which are most poses for beginners!).  As you become more experienced, you'll start to remember more of the details that you were taught in class, and then can incorporate them into your own practice.     And, as a beginner, if you really just don't get around to practicing much, don't worry!  Let it develop over time!

Practicing between your yoga classes becomes more essential as you become more experienced and take higher level classes.   You'll find it much harder to progress in the more difficult, complicated yoga asanas unless you put in your own work between classes.   If you're having trouble in certain asanas and just can't figure them out withing your own practice, you're welcome to come in early before classes to get help.  I'm usually at the studio 1/2 hour before class starts.   Some students are finding it's helpful to take more than one class a week. I'm also available for private lessons if you'd like more focused attention on some aspect of your yoga practice.  But my guidance is only worth a little if you don't follow up with your own work.  

Here's a link to a series of practice sequences on the IYNAUS (Iyengar Yoga National Association of the U.S.) website.     Sequences for practice
I've posted this link before in newsletters, but it's always good to check again!   There are 4 general sequences for Level 1 students, and 4 sequences for Level 2 and higher students.

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