Are you a complete noob to yoga? Do you want to practice some postures in the comfort of your own home? Whether you need a supplemental knowledgebase in between your favorite studio classes, or you don't even have any local yoga studios, this is a solution I've been working on for the past few months!
Life can be really busy sometimes. No, actually a LOT of the time. You may either say "Yes" to anything and everything, or you somehow found yourself constantly running from one thing to the next. The moment you wake up in the morning, you have to bolt out the door. Traffic is going to make you late for work. A feeling of being rushed comes over you. You just want to catch your breath. You just want to slow things down. So many people have told me how they used to practice Yoga so much. Some would do it everyday. Some for hours. The scenario is the same: life got busy, time less available. They couldn't practice like they used to. They would love to practice a little bit at home. But, coming home from an insane work day results in a tired evening. An exhausted feeling. A drained energy. They can't even think of doing anything else except eat dinner and PTFO (If you don't know what that is, it means "Pass The F*ck Out"!) ;)
This is very understandable. I get it. Seeing my rolled up yoga mat resting in the same corner of the room for days, I felt like unrolling it for just a few minutes would not possibly make a difference in the day. My mind was so stuck on needing to do some errand, getting a yoga video done, paying some bills...just so stuck on the future and "getting everything done right". Thinking that I needed to build up a lot of sweat on the mat held me back from focusing on what really mattered the most: getting a moment to relax my mind and to stretch my body to detox, even if it was just a little bit of quiet. Otherwise, all the stress and the circular thoughts would get pent up and stack on the body and the mind tenfold.
I realized that Yoga doesn't have to be practiced for over an hour everyday. It doesn't have to be practiced in a studio. It doesn't have to be whatever our definition of "correct" and "perfect" is. The sequences don't have to be super long in order to say that you've done enough. You ARE enough.
Another scenario I hear is that someone is not flexible enough to do Yoga. His/Her muscles are too tight. The toes just cannot be touched! It is an embarrassing feeling for some of these folks. Embarrassing enough to prevent someone from entering a yoga studio. Afraid to take a class with a room full of advanced practitioners. Concerned that the verbal cues won't be enough to align the body like everyone else. They might just get it wrong, look bad and go home sad.
I get it. I was a beginner at yoga for a long-ass time. I couldn't touch my toes for a long-ass time! I couldn't get my foot to come close to my hands for Runners Lunge. Feelings of the struggle were real. Scooting the toes forward to finally rest between my hands seemed lame. How come everyone else could swing their right foot right next to their right hand so gracefully?!?
Let's think about it, though. If you never go through all these little challenges, these "small" progressions, your muscles will not gradually relax. Your bones will not strengthen. Your hips could remain extremely stiff. You'll stay at exactly the same place if you never move your butt! The little progressions on the mat are necessary to reach the big progressions in life.
It's def like the analogy of climbing up a mountain. You take the individual little itty bitty steps, but when you get to the top, you'll realize just how far you came to make it happen. It's def like this on the mat. And, whether you're just a busy bee or a beginning bee, taking the time to make that little bitty step won't feel like a big hassle. Trust!
So, for all of you awesome Beginner Rogue Yogis all over the world. I encourage you to start wherever you start. Start small. Take the steps. Embrace the journey. It doesn't happen overnight.
And for all of you Busy Yogis with your families, jobs, careers and jam-packed lives, I encourage you to just give yourself 5 minutes in the morning on the mat. No obligation to practice a long sequence for 30 minutes. Just 5 minutes of a sun salutation, a half salutation, or even a short meditation. It's more benefit to you to accomplish 5 minutes everyday, than to crank out an hour once every other week. We all know how fast our mind goes racing to the past, the future and circles around like a monkey on a tree. 5 minutes of a home practice everyday will help calm that monkey down real quick!
Here's a Half Salutation you can do at home. Sync your breath with each movement. Inhales as you lengthen, exhales as you contract. You don't have to look exactly like me in these screenshots. You don't have to wear a sports bra or $15 yoga leggings from TJ Maxx ;) Wear what's comfortable for you to move and stretch in. What matters is how your body feels as you practice. Take what works. Leave what doesn't. It's a dope practice to get connected with your senses and to trust your inner judgement:
- Begin by Kneeling on the mat. Knees together. Feet together. Option to open the feet wider, open the knees wider, or to sit on a yoga block. Spine elongated. Tuck the tailbone under. Palms rest on the thighs.
- Inhale the arms up as you lift the glutes off of the heels. Lengthen side body. Reach arms high. 3. Exhale to Childs Pose. Big toes touch. Knees open wide. Arms rest past your head. Glutes root down towards the heels. Option to bring arms alongside the body, hands wrap around the feet. 4. Inhale up to all fours. Hands under shoulders. Fingers splayed wide apart. Knees under hips. Shoulders plugged in. Back is flat (in a tabletop position). 5. Exhale to kneeling. Palms face down on the thighs.
Repeat this sequence 5 times. Go at your own pace. Take your time. Focus on leading the movement with your breath. Can you lengthen your breath? Can you move your body with fluidity and lightness? Remember, the focus isn't on looking perfect in the pose. It's really to get the blood flowing, to stretch the various parts of the body to keep it in use, to keep it healthy, and to practice focusing your mind on the breath as you move. It's a gentle sequence that beginners and advanced yogis can do at home. It doesn't take more than a few minutes, and you can truthfully say that you got to practice yoga today and every damn day! Who knows, maybe you'll really be feeling your practice and go for even longer than 5 minutes :)
Check out the video below to see me demonstrate this Half Salutation. See how you like it! Let me know any feedback and questions you've got.