Last week I taught my last Yoga class before the summer break. I am always encouraging my students to do some yoga at home. A weekly class can teach you the fundamentals, but regular daily practice is the way to get the most out of Yoga. Benefits such as strength, balance and flexibility begin to come after a few months of that Wednesday night class, but even greater improvements will manifest if you include just ten minutes a day of some simple postures and breathing.
We all get worked up over the multiple stresses of daily life. But if we learn to recognize signs of anxiety Yoga can help eliminate patterns of negative thinking. Take five to ten minutes to use Yoga as a moving meditation; breathe and focus on each posture. Take breaks in between, close your eyes and take four or five deep breaths. This can actually help change your brain chemistry. It can change your thinking in a positive way. A short Yoga routine can keep your mind from drifting back to an anxious state.
There are lots of opportunities for practicing Yoga at home with your tablet or computer. Here are three ways to customize a routine:
Do Yoga With Me is my favorite site. They have categories of Difficulty, Length and Style. Just plug in whatever you want such as Beginner, 0-20 minutes and Hatha. All of your options will pop up. The site is easy to navigate. You will be able to customize a class from 10 minutes to over an hour in the privacy of your home. If you want more details about individual poses go to www.yogajournal.com.
So when your Yoga teacher is on vacation or even if Yoga class is not in the budget right now, there’s no excuse for avoiding the mat. If you are already taking a weekly class start supplementing with a daily routine. A home practice can be very liberating and creative. Listen to your body and lift a bit higher in that Bridge pose, or skip that Downward Dog altogether. After all nobody is watching except maybe your cat.
photos by Chris Primavera