The real concept behind yoga is one of awareness, and this can be attended to throughout the day. In the West today, we tend to think of only the asanas (postures) as being yoga. Whether it be awareness or asanas, though, yoga is something that should be done throughout the day. Attending class every day is not really possible for any of my students, and for some, it is only possible to come once a week. When flexibility is your aim, though, once a week basically means you start from scratch every week and twice a week will just keep you where you are right now.
To that end, I have set aside some practices for my students (but obviously also for anyone reading this blog) that I feel will help enhance their flexibility, enabling them to move deeper during their classes, as well as re-checking their form. These postures are also ones that can be done safely at home, and doing a posture slightly incorrectly will not result in injury, although it might change the nature of the stretch which is why it is necessary to attend a class at least once a week to instill the correct form for these asanas.
Ideally, these should be performed every day, with the minimum being 3 times a week, every other day being the next best thing to that. The practice can very easily be adapted to the amount of time you have available or how busy your mind is. If your mind is very busy, moving through the postures fairly quickly, helps settle the mind; If you want a deeper stretch, choose fewer postures and take a couple of long deep breaths as you move deeper into the stretch; A-symmetrical postures can be held for up to 2 minutes and symmetrical postures for up to 4 minutes; You can choose to do all postures or just a few depending on the time you have.
As with your normal yoga class, make sure that you are comfortable, that you won't be disturbed and that your phone is off. At home, though, comfortable might mean pyjamas as you might want to attend to the practice first thing in the morning or last thing at night, and you might feel ok doing the postures on the floor/carpet instead of rolling out your mat each time.
REMEMBER that in yoga it is as important to take the time to go into and go out of a posture correctly and gently, as it is being in the posture. Often times it is the hurry to get into or out of a posture that may harm us, and not the posture itself.
On to the postures! If anything is unclear, feel free to communicate with me as I could go on forever trying to explain the nuances of each posture.
Warm Up (This is essential, but doing any one posture for 10 reps, or 2 or 3 for half that, will warm up the body effectively as these postures were chosen for their overall warming effect):
|Tabletop: Wrists under shoulders, knees under hips - this is just a transitional posture, but it needs to be correct in order to retain balance, etc. during your flow.|
From DD you can look between the hands, walk your feet forward and either hang out in ragdoll (taking hold of opposite elbows and hanging down), or move into the full forward fold (taking hold of the legs and drawing the head towards the knees, making sure you are hinging from the hips, not the waist). !! If you get dizzy, or you have high blood pressure, lift your head and look at the mat !! Once you are ready, slowly and gently roll up into standing by tucking the chin and coming up vertebra by vertebra.
|Pose of the Moon/Hare: From plank, bring the knees to the mat, buttocks to the heels and the forehead to the mat. Open the knees if they are taking strain. Nice strong arms to open up the shoulders.|
** Namaste **