How to practice the Physical act of Yoga
Updated: Aug 23, 2018
The physical yoga, sooo good. For some people the clarity gained by practicing asanas is the same clarity others reach through meditation or chanting. When practiced with the following guidelines yoga, the physical act, can give you calmness, moochos happiness, and a ridiculously long list of mental and health benefits.
1) Start with sitting and connecting to your breath, a gentle reminder of its connection to your body.
2) Once you have entered into an asana correctly, made all the alignment adjustments so you are comfortable, and have kicked your ego to the curb, then move your focus to your breath. Whenever you mind wanders, always bring it back to your breathe. Try and keep your breathing constant so if you inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts. If you find you are inhaling/exhaling 1:1 then you are no longer comfortable and your ego has crawled back from the curb and taken over.
Remember if you don’t breathe you will pass out, and your teachers are teachers not doctors.
3) Try and hold your poses for 3-7 breaths. Long enough to stretch and strengthen your muscles and tendons, but not so long that you are feeling tortured. In time, as you get longer and stronger you will find you can hold poses for much longer.
4) It’s really not about wrapping your leg around your head or auditioning for cirque du soleil, it’s about: feeling comfortable in a pose, keeping your breathing constant, and focusing on one thing, and then holding.
5) Keep it simple, fwd bends before back bends, dynamic poses before calming poses. Some go sun salutations to warm up, then standing poses, sitting and then lying. I personally like to go on a roller coaster, lying, sitting, standing, sitting, lying, coma. Remember fwd bends calm you, close you off, slow you down, whereas back bend practices opens you up and ignite you.
6) At the end of your practice try and do some breathing exercises for 10min: alternate nostril or bellows breath, yogi breath, finishing with honey bee breath.
7) Then, go a little crazy and do a wee chant of aum or this Buddhist medication chant that my dogs love meditating to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVty9rD4X-o This will help your husband, wife, family, and friends confirm that you have completely lost the plot.
8) Lie down in Shavasana and let your body grow roots and sink into the earth.
This is a complete yoga practice that should leave you feeling incredibly relaxed, content, strong and fabulous, and maybe even a little taller. Yoga is best practiced before sunrise or right after sunset, on an empty stomach and somewhere clean and quiet and with a little smile.