An Outline Of A Comprehensive Yoga PracticeYoga is so much greater than just an exercise regimen. It is a Science for understanding ourselves and our connection with all else in existence. It is a way to explore the inner workings of our mind, body and essence. It is a path for freedom. For realization of these great possibilities much more is required than just exercise. The physical postures and specialized breathing are merely the groundwork for MEDITATION. They open the energetic channels and clear the way for higher pursuits. If a yogi never ventures in that direction then all of the studying and hard work doesn’t lead to the treasure. This said, how does a comprehensive and effective yoga practice look for the average person (who is not living in a Himalayan Cave with all the time in the world)? How can we make steady progress on this ever beckoning path and still fulfill our daily duties?
- We set our intention to succeed and we form a plan for practical application.
- We simplify by determining our priorities including Family, Work, and Yoga.
- We look honestly at our lives and our daily activities then we eliminate all that does not serve our priorities.
- We design a daily schedule and follow it.
This does not mean that we cannot enjoy special occasions like holidays and vacations. It also does not prevent us from being available for others during times of celebration or need, we simply modify or shorten our yoga practice as necessary while remaining steadfast. Also, it is important to emphasize that just like people, a solid yoga practice can take on different shapes and nuances. What works for one person may be impossible for someone else. The way to judge your own yoga practice is to notice how you feel. If you are often agitated or impatient – it is not working in your favor. If you feel peaceful and calm then you are on the right track.
Today I will share an outline of my general practice, as it exists today. I hope that you find some value in this offering…
Upon Waking: After a morning ritual of hydrating (32 ounces of water with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt) and showering, I practice 5-10 minutes of simple yoga stretches with deep breathing to release and open the spine followed by 20 minutes or more of seated meditation. This is all done prior to breakfast.
A Couple Of Hours Later or Before Lunch: Breath Retention exercises followed by a fairly strenuous Vinyasa or Kundalini yoga practice for 30-60 minutes. The length of practice is dependent upon how much time is available AND how I feel that day. Some days I might choose to do a hike, swim, bike, or some other form of recreation/exercise instead of yoga.
Before Dinner: To relieve any tension from the day I practice gentle yoga stretches for 5-10 minutes with deep breathing, followed by 20 minutes or more of meditation.
Before Sleeping: This is a great time to do some Alternate Nostril Breathing followed by sequential relaxation of the body – beginning with the toes and ending with the crown. This might include a healing meditation on a specific physical or emotional aspect. Another wonderful precursor to a good nights sleep is a ‘Nad’ or Sound Current Yoga Meditation which can be done lying down.
As you see, I don’t follow the clock with a strict time schedule. Instead, yoga practice is woven into my life with flexible boundaries. If your practice is effective then you will become more self aware, more present.
Happiness to All; Kimberly