Today’s self practice showed me my challenges for the new year

steep_climbing_lg

It was a fun yule tide, wasn’t it? All that feasting and sitting and feasting and sitting. I have to say that my personal practice has taken a back seat between the holidays, three jobs, and teaching more classes. Teaching classes for me does not equal practice, because I actually teach. In yesterday’s class I was teaching twisting poses, and realized that my practice has been sorely lacking. Today, I had a gap in my schedule that allowed me to sneak in some asana time at the studio.

For the first half hour of practice, I used the rope wall just to elongate my spine in Adho Mukha Svanasana and Uttanasna and address my tight hamstrings. I then hung in rope Sirsasana for a few minutes. That felt wonderful.

rope sirsasana with baddhakonasana

A good self practice is much like improvisational jazz music. You start with a theme and realize variations in that theme and go with it. What started out as back pain perceived from my tight hamstrings led to realizations of tightnesses in my groins and hips. I did a long supta padangusthasana I and II, ardha baddha padmottanasana and eventually wound up in Matsyasana. My groins cried.

matsyasana

I finished with this chair Sarvangasana cycle that utilizes baddha konasana.

There is the famous saying “physician, heal thyself.” That applies even more to yoga teachers. I felt a profound relief after my practice, not just physically, but emotionally. My jobs are quite stressful and I am holding much of that stress in my body. My mentoring teacher Ray says that for every hour you teach, you should be doing double in your own practice. For me, that translates into 9 hours of practice. 7 more hours to go this week…

 

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5 thoughts on “Today’s self practice showed me my challenges for the new year

  1. paulefallon

    I’m impressed that you find such value in self-practice. I find that I need to go to a class. It helps me set aside the time and with the instructor giving direction, I can get into a more open mind. Still, it would be helpful sometimes to be able to practice. I will give it a deeper try.

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      Thanks Paul! Try some asanas that you “enjoy doing” to get started on a home practice. And do only 20-30 minutes at first. That will make you crave more. I think practitioners eventually go to their own practice as a natural progression. But don’t get me wrong, I love a good class!

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  2. Ginny Hamilton Yoga

    So true! I’ve heard it said that study, teaching, & self practice are the 3 cornerstones of a balanced teacher. (The more entrepreneurial sort lump study and self practice together, adding recruitment as #3.)

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      It is too bad that making money is now the rule and not the exception. I know it is cliche, but become the change you want to see in the world with your own practice. In the end that will make you much “richer” than the 200 hour degree mills promise the endless crop of new student teachers.
      Thanks for your comments Ginny.

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  3. Dorris Scott

    Thanks for sharing the chair yoga video. I started using a backless chair for sarvangasana a month ago after I strained my thumb tendon due to a snowboarding accident. I really enjoy my chair practice and I’ve been looking for ways to expand it.

    I agree with you about self-practice being like a jazz improvisation. Today, I was rather tired and I still had things to do after work. I usually do a self-practice according to the course in Light of Yoga and I scrapped that and did a restorative practice with three particular asanas in it. Based on how I felt doing the asanas, I added two more to my practice and then called it a day with savasana. I definitely felt a whole lot better by just listening to what my body needed at the time and I was able to do the things I needed to do without feeling fatigued.

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