Low Back Yoga Poses
Practising yoga at home can be beneficial for both mental and physical health, especially alongside classes with a professional yoga teacher. When you practise at home you can determine when you practise and which type of yoga you want to focus on that day. Being alone can bring a zen-like state of calm that may never be achieved in a busy class environment. Classes can often be a daunting place for beginners and even too hectic for others, because live classes are usually made up of yogis at different levels. However, if you really want to improve then it is important to set aside your self-consciousness and get stuck into a regular class. It is the symbiosis between a structured class environment and your personal freedom in your home practice that will allow you to move forward.
Rolling out a mat in your own living room can be a freeing experience you are at one with yourself in your own space. Brighton yoga teacher Louisa Michael encourages students to practise at home, she said: ‘I always encourage my students to take home parts of the practice they have enjoyed in class. I believe by doing the movements they have enjoyed in class, my students deepen their asanas and absorb the philosophy and benefits of yoga from an open and engaged place. I have seen a dramatic shift in some of my students who feel empowered by the mixture of home and class practice.
The bare essentials to any yoga workout are the correct loose comfortable fit clothing and a dedicated yoga mat. Yoga props can also be useful for aiding your practice – belts, blocks and straps can help you reach certain poses that would otherwise seem unachievable. DVDs and books can guide you through the first few sessions until you know enough postures to allow you to practise anywhere you like. It is worth making continual use of professional DVDs as you continue with your practice, to ensure that you are not developing bad habits. Experienced Yoga teacher Howard Napper thinks practising yoga at home happens in two stages. He said: ’At first students are more than likely going to be getting most of their information from a book. DVD or the occasional class. Although this stage can be extremely rewarding it can also be confusing as trying to make sense of the broad discipline of yoga is never easy. But in my mind the sooner you’re able to move on to the next stage the better, and this is where a home practice becomes so powerful. In this stage you start to become your own pupil and own teacher and rather than thinking what’s right or wrong.’
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The Gaiam Yoga Beginners Kit Ching Mat, at just £24.99 on Amazon.co.uk. is the ideal kit to get you up and running in your home yoga practice. The pack includes a full-length instructional DVD to guide you every step of the way an Alignment Yoga Mat. Yoga brick and Yoga Strap. The props and mat are excellent quality – comfortable and durable. With the encouragement of the DVD and the pleasure of using the mat and props, there is plenty of incentive to practise every day.
If possible it is advisable to find a quiet uncluttered space in which to practise, as this will reflect on your state of mind and wellbeing. Remember to set realistic goals by dedicating 10 – 15 minutes a day to developing your yoga practice It is better to do little and often than to go hell for leather once a fortnight. Above all remember to warm your muscles up by easing yourself into your routine. Work on beginner’s moves such as the Tree pose for balance and the Baby Pidgeon to open the hips. Then start to look at sequences like Sun Salutations and build from there. An important lesson to learn early on is to take your time both in your yoga poses and in the rate that you progress – it is not a good idea to start doing headstands earlier on.
There are many practical reasons for taking up yoga at home. One of the main reasons that classes are discontinued is the considerable cost of being taught by a professional. Equally, if all of your weekly yoga occurs during one class then you will not achieve the full potential growth in your mind or body; practising at home is an excellent way of sustaining yoga throughout life. London yoga teacher Katrina Repka said: It is beneficial to
practise at home because you can practise any time you want, and begin to tune in to your own rhythms. Ultimately a guru is a spiritual guide that empowers you to be your own best teacher, and when you practise by yourself you can start to use Svadhyaya (self-study) to determine the yoga that works best for you. and also how the practice changes your energy day-to-day and hour-to-hour. This will help you to understand how profound yoga is and how to use it to change your life.
The best way to find what works for you is to try different sequences or different styles of yoga to create a workout then build from there – you will have the freedom to go at your own pace to work on individual poses. The best way to truly make yoga comfortable for you is always ask yourself ‘how does this feel?” Don’t put pressure on yourself otherwise you may obtain injuries. Howard Napper added: The golden rule for avoiding injury in any yoga situation is to only work with the intensity of a position, and to completely avoid anything that might become painful. Ultimately yoga is about learning to listen to your body and this is where it begins.