Those converted to the benefits of yoga may find that their weekly yoga class leaves something lacking. For all the joy of practicing in a community, group classes do not give us a personalized sequence, nor can most of us find the time to attend a group class every day. The detoxifying, balancing and invigorating results of your yoga class can be yours on a daily basis, however; with just a little work to design your own perfect sequence. Taking the step to self-practice is a significant step in committing yourself to a regular method of health and wellbeing; a step you will be well rewarded for.
Designing your own Yoga Sequence.
- Consider a pre-set sequence:
Adopt a well-designed sequence for all round health and wellbeing. A perfect example is the set of twelve asana prescribed by the Sivananda School, addressing all the important postural groups in a sequence arranged for optimal effect. Attend a Sivananda class to learn the correct practice, or research the sequence online if you are an experienced Hatha Yoga practitioner.
- Warm the body sufficiently:
Be sure to undertake a general warm-up as the first step in your sequence. Sun Salutations combined with the heating ujjayibreath are excellent preparation for asana, and you might wish to incorporate sets of dynamic movements such as Marjari-asana (Cat-Cow dynamic posture) as an initial spinal warmer. Move from simple asanasto deeper versions in a logical progression; for example, easy spinal twists before deeper, long-held versions. This is the only way to travel deeply into postures and gain maximum benefits.
- Know your inner approach:
Those with the necessary experience to start practising alone should treat the practice with a full sense of responsibility. Know that ‘steadiness’ and ‘ease’ are the two fundamental instructions of the Yoga tradition, going all the way back to Patanjali. Only by remaining in sensitive communication with your own body can you create this approach. Move slowly in and out of postures, staying in tune with how you are feeling at all times – your sensation is the body’s own checking mechanism, so respond immediately to any discomfort you come across in your practice.
- Take guidance from Yoga Therapy:
Choose therapeutic poses targeted at specific health and lifestyle aims, and make them the foundations of your personalized sequence. The Bihar School of Yoga provide excellent manuals detailing the benefits and contraindications of a vast range of Yoga asana. For example; Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist) is the perfect therapeutic pose for diabetics; Kakasana (Crow Pose) ideal for wrists and lower arms, and Paschimottanasana(Sitting Forward Bend) an excellent choice for digestive health. Unless you are an already an experienced practitioner, take this approach only under the guidance of a qualified Yoga Therapist.
- Work with your Ayurvedic Body Type:
Discover your Ayurvedic dosha composition for an additional tool to help you gain balance. The three fundamental constituents of body and mind, Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha can all be balanced by particular sets of asanas and other Hatha Yoga practices. Those with a Vatadosha imbalance benefit from grounding through standing asanas, those with a Pitta dosha predominance need twists and side-openers, and those of a Kaphanature require heating and invigoration from their Yoga practice.
Please note: there is no substitute for proper Yoga tuition. The suggestions above apply to those who have already learnt the foundations of Yoga asana and wish to create a routine for sensible home practice. Those with less experience should form their own sequence only under the guidance of an experienced Yoga Teacher or Yoga Therapist.
Kairali Yoga offers private Yoga Therapy courses at The Ayurvedic Healing Village, where guests can adopt the wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy to create life-long wellbeing routines and health practices.