We all know Brighton has an abundance of Yoga classes to choose from; we’re lucky enough to choose between anything from yin, hot yoga, vinyasa, hatha, ashtanga, paddle-board, kundalini, and all things in-between!
While classes are a brilliant way to learn more about Yoga, to practice in a community and try different styles – nothing compares to a home practice in which you are the only teacher to learn from. Here’s a few tips on starting your own practice if you’re not already rolling out the mat at home….
Get to class first….
In order to be knowledgeable about what you’re actually practicing at home, it’s important to first find a teacher who you trust, and who can advise you on any alignment techniques you could focus on in your own practice. A home practice is beneficial on so many levels, but having an idea of how to keep safe is the key to a long, enjoyable and sustainable practice!
Don’t have a Yoga teacher? You’ll find one you connect with at the Brighton Yoga Festival….
Find the ‘right’ place….
It’s often advised to find a place that is quiet and free of distractions and mess. Choose somewhere that feels peaceful and clean, ensuring there are no strong smells which might distract you during practice. Many people have a dedicated space to practice in, with an altar representing the devotion to a daily practice.
With all of this said, it’s perhaps more common not to have any space to practice that is dedicated solely to Yoga; many of us have busy family lives, pets, children, limited space, flatmates any number of other things which means there may not be a quiet a peaceful place to practice. This is however, where our real practice begins….
It’s very easy to feel calm and peaceful when we’re in a calm and peaceful place, but practicing being present and focussing on the breath is more difficult to do when there are dogs running around the place, children climbing on you, or noisy housemates around. A Yoga practice does not happen up in the clouds, it happens right here on earth, in reality, in this body and in this moment…. so we have to practice in this moment. If we can learn to find peace in ourselves when surrounded by chaos, we can learn to find peace anywhere….
So maybe you don’t have a dedicated Yoga room, altar, or calming scents filling the room, but maybe you have a small amount of space in the hallway or kitchen, surrounded by a multitude of distractions; if so, then your practice happens here, in reality, in this body, in this moment, because peace is found on the inside, not out.
A daily Yoga practice does not have to consist of 2 hours of asana (physical Yoga postures). At least 20 minutes a day of focussed practice is enough to sustain a lifetime of yoga, without putting unrealistic pressure on yourself each day. Sun salutations are usually a good way to begin a morning practice in order to get the heart beating and breath flowing, then choose some postures to practice which suit what you need that particular day.
A well-rounded daily practice will include postures from all ‘families’, including standing poses, balancing, backbends, twists, hip-openers, forward folds and savasana to end.
(For more info on a well-rounded daily practice, click HERE)
Make time for meditation….
Often we get caught up in the impressive outward appearance of Yoga, focussing on getting deeper and further into postures, measuring ourselves according to how ‘good’ our physical practice is.
In truth, Yoga itself is not just the physical postures at all – take a look in any of the ancient texts and there isn’t a huge amount written on the poses we hold such high regard for now. Yoga is ‘chitta vritti nirodaha’, meaning ‘stilling the fluctuations of the mind’. Meditation, breath-awareness and the ability to sit in peace with ourselves is a very important part of the practice, and in fact the very intention of the physical practice is to allow us to sit comfortably enough for time in meditation.
For that one moment in the day you have to yourself for practice, make it count. Leave your phone out of the room, turn off the computer, and choose to focus on the breath instead. This ability to be in the moment and focus on one thing at a time will soon translate off the mat, allowing us to be focussed and present with each moment throughout the day.
By Emma Newlyn
For more info on Emma, her classes and Yoga tips, recipes and events, head to: www.emmanewlynyoga.com