Happy Weekend Yogis!
Hope January is being kind and you are keeping warm during the cold spell.
I'm often asked "How can I develop my practice?", especially at this time of year. So here are a few tips which I feel may help in creating a home practice which in turn will develop your practice, asanas and general wellbeing.
1) Where do I do it?
Find a space that is as quiet as possible. In the summer that may be in a park, but at this time of year, think about a space at home that has the least traffic
2) How long?
Don't say to yourself I will practice for an hour - say to yourself 15-20 mins, then see how you feel once you are on the mat and moving. Often by saying we will practice for an hour, we find an excuse as we no longer want to commit to that length of time.
3) What do I do?
How does your body feel? Is the back stiff? The hamstrings shrunk? Shoulders tight? What asanas (postures) will help? In my classes, I make sure I reference, during practice, the benefits that at least 3 of the postures I am teaching will bring you eg "Garudasana (Eagle pose) - brings focus and opens the shoulders, etc." Alternatively, practice 2 or 3 postures that you enjoy or want to develop and see where it takes you. One session, you may feel that you want to sit and meditate, so do that.
Whatever and whenever you decide to practice, most importantly, listen to your body - it really is your greatest teacher.
At the end of every break or holiday, I find my inner 17 year old self singing the Soul II Soul lyric "Back to Life, Back to Reality"........
For most of us, the next few days see a return to our daily patterns and routines. Many of us may have set New Year Resolutions. Before I began teaching, we decided, in our house, to set ourselves promises, rather than resolutions, purely because we felt that we never stuck to a resolution. Why? I'm never quite sure, but I'm guessing they felt a little imposed or we really weren't that comitted to it in the first place and promising felt a little more nicer?
During my studies, I came across Sankalpas, especially in the practice of Yoga Nidras. Sankalpas are akin to resolutions but can be a vow, intention, resolve or desire to do or be, coming from deep within the heart and mind. There is an allowing of the heart and mind to speak, connecting us to the universal consciousness. It's more than achieving a goal for yourself as it doesn't come from the ego.
Yoga practice often enables the sankalpa to come to the surface and is then used during a yoga nidra, when the mind is most relaxed and the sankalpa can imprinted on the subconciousness. They can remain the same or you may find they develop and evolve over a period of time - maybe alongside your practice.
In setting a sankalpa, move away from I will or I want statements towards I am statements; Swami Saraswati gives excellent teachings on these in his Yoga Nidra book, which I will bring it along to class.
So with all this in mind, I wish you a very happy and healthy 2017.
#setyoursankalpas #2017sankalpa :)
Love and Light