One yogini sharing her path of discovery

Archive for April, 2013

5 Things to Start a Home Practice

For me, one of the most rewarding types of practice is a solitary one. No teacher, no other students, just me, my mat, and the opportunity to explore. For some, this may be the only option during a busy schedule. For others, the idea of going it alone seems too challenging. When I began my teacher training on of our first “assignments” was to start a home practice. It was a foreign and slightly scary notion to me to do an hour or so of yoga completely unguided, but I gradually found my rhythm.

home practice

Now as an instructor I am able to share my own experiences with a home practice with my students. Part of my responsiblilty as a private instructor for people over-coming injury or trauma is to safetly guide them into postures in the clinic during our sessions, as well as give them tools to do it themselves at home until they feel comfortable enough to go to a “regular” class. (Which in Vancouver sometimes means 20-50 people and a teacher that is doing their best to be mindful of all those souls) Some of the most common questions that I get from my students are the same ones that I asked myself.

How will I remember what poses to do? What music should I put on? Where will I do it?

These are all good questions and an important part of finding your own home yoga rhythm so hopefully the following tips can help.

 Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame. ”

B.K.S. Iyengar

Practice:

1. Have a space – It doesn’t have to be a big space. Maybe in the living room, on the balcony, beside your bed, in the park, or if you have the option create a yoga room. Regardless of where it is all you need space for is a mat. Also, try to let it be free from external distractions like a computer, cellphone, mirrors, and other people.

2. Have a point of focus – If you have ever seen someone else’s yoga space or meditation area you may have also noticed an atlar. Your altar http://instagram.com/p/YfePyjzG_E/ can be simple or elaborate. Feel free to place meaningful pictures, a Buddha, your favorite Hindi God, candles, and stones. Whatever resonates positive energy and peace of mind within you. It not only helps solidify your space to practice but also helps culitvate your drishti or point of focus.

3. Have a set time – Making time for a home practice can sometimes be the most challenging especially if you are running a household. We can’t exactly lock children out of our room or ignore a partner that wants to spend time together. And if your a bit of a social butterfly, saying no to an event to practice yoga alone doesn’t always make the cut. That is why having a scheduled time to do your practice is essential. In the beginning, allow making it to your mat at home just as important as making it to your favorite studio class. 

4. Have a plan – Your plan can be a sequence you learned in class, following a video, or just winging it. If you are new to yoga remembering what you did in a class can be hard and knowing if you’re doing it right or wrong may be non-exsistant. Thats okay because not only do we live in a world with information at our fingertips but also its when we explore the unknown that the best discoveries are made. Great websites like

http://www.myyogaonline.com

and

http://www.yogaglo.com

Offer a wide range of classes for any length of time or intention. If you are on a budget there are also thousands of videos on YouTube and weekly podcasts available on iTunes. If you want to build your own sequence or learn more about a specific pose then check out www.yogajournal.com where they have an endless supply of information for everybody no matter what the level.

Music: If you are not following a video also feel free to choose some music that makes you feel good. If you’re not sure what to play Youtube, iTunes, and Songza (for those that can download apps) have playlists for just this purpose.

* If it is in your budget and you are new to yoga or looking to expand your practice, investing in a private session with an instructor can make all the difference. For my own students we set an intention and sequence that they can follow with the freedom to explore beyond.

5. Have fun – A home practice isn’t a chore and should be viewed as a privilege. Allow space for creativity, understanding, and most importantly, non-judgement. You are complete, you are perfect.

Namaste

Awake

 

awake

Today, like everyday, I went outside. Today, just like each day the sun is shining, it was beautiful. There is something about that sunshine that ignites. Even when the wind still hold a chill the sunshine warms from the inside out. It is like my soul absorbs it and then reflects the rays back out into the world. I must not be the only one. People are kinder, smiling at one another saying “isn’t this nice.” I agree. It is lovely. I have never felt like moving to Vancouver was a bad decision for me. Complete opposite in fact where I generally am overwhelmed with gratitude that I did and that even I can quietly flourish here. Today I am also grateful that I woke up. I am awake in the most glorious of ways.

Be Kind

You cannot rely on the kindness of others, without yourself being kind.

In my variety of roles (yoga instructor, physio assistant, receptionist) I see a variety of people and so much of what I learn and write is from them. And in these various roles the thing that I learn the most is the importance of kindness. It is the backbone of costumer service and the thing that can mean the difference between a good day and a total shit day for the consumer or the person providing the service.  The most recent reminder was from a long-time patient at the clinic. She is 86, very arthritic, and completely reliant on the kindness of others. Her ego prevents her from getting an appropriate walking aid so she must cling on to any available body to get from place to place. She has volunteers do her grocery shopping and a cab driver that has agreed to take her anywhere she needs to go for next to nothing. When she comes in to our clinic about twice a week she is usually complaining about something. The weather, parking, the volunteers that help her, but always her driver. Most days he brings her up she is yelling at him about something he did and if he is even 2 minutes late picking her up she gets mad at him.  As an outsider it appears like (lets be honest I could be way off base) she treats him like her slave. About a week ago her cab driver told her that at the end of the month he doesn’t want to drive her anymore and he didn’t know anyone that would be able to take over for him. It may seem cruel but after years of taking her everywhere while being treated like a second class citizen I am not surprised he needs a break. Now she is continually distraught over the fact that she won’t have a driver come summer time but refuses to use any other service because they won’t do anything extra for her and still treats him badly.

*** An important thing to keep in mind is that for some people mental health issues such as dementia can be a factor (although in this situation I believe it to be more related to race and class) and the true lesson is that kindness and gratitude should always be put forward regardless of actions towards ourselves. ***  And own personal lesson in this situation is most definitely continual awareness. We can easily get distracted with cellphones and our own personal issues when dealing with people. Or if someone has been doing something for us for a long time we can forget to be appreciative or not realize the favor at all. Just like love, when you give kindness you get kindness.

kindness

April Resolution

Moving forward another month. Leaving behind Winter and welcoming Spring is always an exciting time. There is a special feeling in the air and I become more energized with the extra daylight hours and hints of sunshine. I am also looking forward to starting a new resolution. Towards the end of March my resolution to give more compliments slightly weened. It wasn’t on purpose, but I also didn’t forget. Instead I noticed a sense of apathy about giving away compliments. I almost became selfish about it, wanting to save the 5 a day for the people I thought deserved it and was always left wanting. Even a sense of disappointment in the behavior of people overwhelmed me. This was quite a surprise after feeling such success with this resolution mid-month.  I am disappointed in myself and I am not sure how an exercise to build my connection to others ended up this way. All part of the journey I suppose and I feel grateful to continue to still learn lessons on how to be a better person and appreciate those around me more.

Now, we leave March and join April’s resolution to write everyday.

Writing-writing-31275199-1500-1004

My motivation for this resolution is simply because I haven’t been writing as much as I would like. I have been writing in a journal for as long as I can remember and started writing poetry, songs, and short stories more seriously about 7 years ago. It feels amazing to have a creative outlet as well as the opportunity to share with others through words. But lately I have been distracted and my free time ends up being spent on netflix and patient yoga programs. Its time to get back to my blank pages and fill them with thoughts of the love that surrounds me and the life I so desperately crave to enjoy. So April, I shall go forth and write!

xo carly

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