20 June 2018

Change Yoga According To Your Needs

                         Image result for vintage doing yoga at home          

It's Okay To Do This

I do it all of the time:

  • If I pick up a virus, for example, I allow myself time to heal, rather than 'use' yoga to sort out the virus. Which really, I don't think that yoga can do this.
  • When I'm going to be sitting most of the day, like at a seminar, then I'll emphasise a standing dynamic twist, a lying dynamic twist, standing hip circles, hip openers, and a backward bend.
  • When it's hot, I do not want to be doing heated poses like warriors. Nor do I do heating breathing practices.
  • When it's cold, I reluctantly use one of a couple of warrior routines, that I know off by heart, for toning, strength, and yes, warmth. But, and again this is just me, not in the morning. (I'm not a Warrior postures fan)
  • And, I do change the pranayama (breathing techniques) in summer and in winter. Yes, of course I do!!

My Base Routine

I have a very simple base morning routine. If you do have one, then it's easy to use little adjustments. Here are some of my suggestions, for my routine:

I Don't Do Heaps

I do Surya Namaskaras (Sun Salutes) I like to do them faster, but that's just my personal preference. It means that:
  • I did something
  • It makes me feel good
  • It keeps me limber
  • I don't have to 'think' about it
  • Sometimes slowly and thoughtfully doesn't suit me
  • I have adjusted this Sun Salute to suit my needs. (I have a dodgy back)
  • I don't do lots of them

Or, I might just do a sort of Ashtanga Suryanamaskara A:
  • moving slowly and thoughtfully
  • being more precise
  • using soft ujjayi, and I might vary the breathing ratios
  • or I might use an unusual bhastrika in a couple of the poses
  • I might do a couple of modifications of this Sun Salute

Other times, I'll just do each pose, of either Salute:
  • three times each, moving with the breath
  • once each, holding for three to five breaths
  • sometimes do 3 cats
  • and I always end up in child pose at the end, to relax
  • I usually do this routine when I'm tired, or feeling a tad lazy

I like to finish some salutes-type morning practice, with:
  • a reclining twist, either dynamic, or a holding one, relaxing into the pose
  • either bridge pose, which I might do slowly three times, or once, holding a minimum of three breaths
  • or the half shoulderstand, which I hold for more breaths
  • and finish with reclining butterfly. Some might call it reclining baddhakonasana. Relaxing

Yours Will Be Different

So, I'm able to have all of these 'methods' to draw on, because of my 'base' practice, known as sadhana. I don't have to get up and make choices, because I know which variation suits me on any given day. And I know this because I've done my dues, put in my time. I've learnt through doing. Over and over. What I do is not earth-shattering, nor long, nor difficult, but it works for me. You might prefer to do something else, like one or more of these:
  • maybe some 'flexibility' type movements
  • backwards, forwards, and side to side, and a twist (standing, seated, reclining - whatever suits you best)
  • a simple evening routine to wind down
  • I met a woman years ago, who did 3 rounds each of the 2 Ashtanga Surya Namaskaras, each morning
  • and a yoga teacher friend, used to do 1 of each of the classical poses before bed. It took 10 minutes
  • another yoga teacher friend would go for a quick walk/run, come back and do a few poses

There's more.....

And I do have a 'base' pranayama (breathing) routine at the end:
  • in autumn I work on strengthening my lungs with a particular type of bhastrika (not the abdominal-pumping one), in preparation for a cold and rainy winter.
  • in winter, I move into the pumping abs bhastrika. It's so warming that of course I avoid it in spring and summer.
  • for summer and spring, I have a cooling little-known bhastrika
  • more often than not, I do kapalabhati, as well
  • and I do a number of each of these cleansing pranayamas, that I know that I can do each morning without it being a major effort 'thing' that I have to do (and it's not much .....)

I practise Nadi Shodana, sometimes known as the Alternate Nostril Breath:
  • when I'm not in a slow-and-relax-mood, It's just done with deep breathing and no retention
  • when I am At One with everything, I add retentions
  • usually only 3 -5 rounds
  • but my favourite version leads one directly into meditation, and more often than not, this is what I do

In summer I finish pranayama with cooling breaths

Usually I am in meditation, by the time that I have finished. I usually only do a short one. But, and this is the point: I frequently do it.

Sometimes It's Really Short And Sweet

Occasionally I'll just do:
  • a couple of warm-ups
  • pranayama
  • some meditation. 

Sometimes I Don't Do  Anything

But I'm okay with that, too. The points for me with a daily practice are:
  • make it doable, which for me is make it short
  • make it enjoyable, meaning it makes me feel good
  • do it more often than you don't do it 
  • don't head-trip when you can't get it done or don't actually want to do it

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