My home yoga practice has not been the sanctuary of peace I would like it to be recently. I find myself fuzzy headed and disorientated, craving stillness but unable to decide what to do in order to find it.
Yoga international has an article about home practice, complete with contributions by my favourite long distance teacher Jason Crandell. Two of the tips I have found interesting and integrated into my practice today, to great effect.
Firstly I started in stillness. It makes sense if I want to find stillness in my mind I start with stillness in my body, lying in savasana taking a few deep breaths. It is there I found what I wanted to do in my practice today, by learning how my body was feeling.
The other valuable thing I took from the article is the idea of your yoga practice counterbalancing everything else that’s going on in your life. This makes complete sense to me… if your day has been under stimulating and sedentary then you need an active practice to balance this out. If, on the other hand they have been mentally and physically exhausting (maybe after travelling), you need a quiet restorative practice.
My week has been physically inactive but mentally very active. My mind just won’t shut up. So I did a very Shiva Rea-esque practice, using the breath and arm movements in and around poses. For example: high lunge with arms parallel to the floor, inhale and straighten front leg and bring arms overhead, exhale arms back to side and front leg bent. I find this kind of movement soothing and it stops the mental chatter.
For too long I have been using the stick in my practice and I need to use the carrot, to use the analogy in the article. I have been using my home practice as the place to “work on things I should do”, ie things I say I am bad at. I am going to use this knowledge and use my home practice as a time to balance myself out. In the same way that some yogis use a forward bend to “counterbalance” a backbend (not that I necessarily do that specifically in my own practice…) so we can use our yoga practice to counterbalance our lives.