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Yoga Insights

Committing to a Home Yoga Practice

One of the most rewarding things about yoga is the way it makes you feel. Whether you’re practicing asanas, meditation, or yoga breathing, you inevitably feel better afterwards. You can wake up with kinks in your body that, in just a few minutes on your mat, can be wiped away. Your mind can be running in circles, yet just a few minutes of yoga breathing calms it down. You can be feeling sad or depressed, but when you focus your mind and heart on soothing Yoga Sound Meditation, you can feel those emotions melt away. These are wonderful techniques that enhance our well-being almost immediately, and they’re there for the taking—as long as you do them.

I know it can be challenging to practice regularly at home, where there’s always so much to do and so many distractions. The key is commitment. Decide that, no matter what, you’re going to do some yoga each day.

Because time always seems to be at a premium, I suggest going to bed earlier so you can get up earlier. You can adjust your sleeping hours slowly—going to bed and getting up 15 minutes earlier for a few days, then gradually increasing by 5 or 10 minutes, until you have 30 minutes to an hour of yoga time. When you get up earlier, you won’t feel like you’re taking time away from other things that need to be done. You can relax and really enjoy having that time to yourself for yoga.

But what if you sleep in and miss your window? Don’t worry. Just be committed to fitting in some yoga somewhere before bed. Maybe you can sneak in ten minutes, two or three times a day. Take some of the time you spend looking at your phone to do a few poses instead. If you’re at work or out and about, get creative. Stand tall in Mountain Pose while standing in line or waiting for your kids. Do Ankle Exercises while pumping gas, or Shoulder Rolls or Neck Exercises while sitting in the car (but not driving). I often do deep breathing, or silent meditation (repeating Yoga Sound to myself), while I’m getting acupuncture or a massage. It makes the session even more relaxing.

If you’re wondering what to practice when you’re at home, you may already be familiar with my various DVD series. They offer a variety of poses at different levels, along with short meditations at the end of each one, for a well-rounded session. So, feel free to use those regularly, or alternate them with a custom session you design yourself.

If you don’t have time to fit in meditation along with your asana practice, try taking a meditation break at midday, before dinner, or before you go to bed. Yoga Sound Meditation is particularly nice before sleep—and way more restful than checking Facebook.

Another thing that can be helpful in sticking to a home practice is keeping a journal. Even if you don’t enter much, just something like, "15 minutes of asanas, 5 of meditation," will help you feel accountable and makes you less likely to miss a day. Jotting down when and what you practiced may also help you find a pattern that works best for you.

I hope these tips help you get motivated to do some yoga every day. If you already have a home practice and would like to share your tips, I’d love to hear them!

Best wishes,

Wai Lana

Restorative Poses And Meditation

Our asana practice doesn’t always have to be a strength-building workout or a reach for greater flexibility. Sometimes what’s needed is just slowing down and taking some time to rest. Many yoga poses can be done in a passive manner and, on certain days, that may be just the ticket to help you slow down, relax, and recharge.

Yoga Tools for Healing

Have you ever had something go wrong with your car? You take it to the mechanic only to find out it was something simple that you could have dealt with yourself. Maybe it was just a blown fuse or your coolant was low. Or maybe the fan belt broke—something that could have been prevented by checking under the hood for wear and tear. Yoga gives us a good way to “check under the hood,” as it were. This can sometimes prevent us from having to run to the doctor for a relatively simple health issue.

Take Your Practice Outdoors

I love waking up early on a summer morning and stepping outside into the freshness of a new day. The birds are singing as they scout for their breakfast. The earth and plants, still damp with dew, smell so inviting. The trees gently sway in the soft breeze. All of this creates a peaceful setting for some yoga practice.

Yoga Poses to Head off PMS

As featured on yogadigest.com

Some women aren’t particularly bothered by the onset of their monthly period but, for many others, Premenstrual Syndrome can be debilitating. PMS generally refers to the discomfort, pain, and emotional swings that can occur from the time of ovulation until bleeding starts about two weeks later. Unpleasant symptoms often continue through the menstrual period as well, especially during the first few days.

Grounding for Steady Poses

If you have trouble balancing or feel top heavy when you practice asanas, it could be that you need a little grounding. For us to experience the steadiness that is part of what the word “asana” means, it’s very helpful to be aware of our body’s connection with the earth. Regardless of whether we’re standing, sitting, kneeling, or lying down, our poses begin from the ground up. So take a few moments before starting each pose to feel your body’s points of contact with the earth.

Explore the Effects of Your Breath

Breathing is a subtle process that occurs every minute of every day, yet we often take it for granted. The breath is actually a very powerful tool that we can use in various ways to enhance our yoga practice.

Our lungs are large air sacs, each one approximately the size of a football. When we fill them with air, they give us a sense of buoyancy. If you’ve ever floated on your back in a pool, a lake, or in the ocean, you’ll notice that it’s much easier to stay afloat when your lungs are filled with air. You can use this same sense of buoyancy when practicing asanas.

Let Your Poses Blossom from Within

If you want to really enjoy and advance in your asana practice, it’s important to feel what you’re doing, not just on the level of what muscles are stretching or strengthening, but on a deeper level. You’ll want to experience your fullest expression of each pose. This doesn’t mean pushing as hard as you can to move further into a pose so that it looks a particular way—that can actually get in the way. Like expressing an idea or an artistic concept, this comes from the inside.

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