Your Home Practice

If you’re lucky enough to have some time off over the Summer this can be a great time to develop your home practice. Frances Homewood, Director of Sheffield Yoga Centre, has written some helpful notes on how to do this.

Why Practice?
“Practice is the effort to be fixed in concentrating the mind” Yoga Sutras Ch 1 V 13
“Practice becomes firmly established when it has been cultivated uninterruptedly and with devotion over a long period of time” Ch 1 v 14

What gets in the Way?
In the Yoga Sutras the obstacles are called Antarayas or interruptions and are listed as; “disease, idleness, doubt, carelessness, sloth, lack of detachment, misapprehension, instability and failure to attain a base for concentration. These are distractions for the mind” Ch1 V 30

Guidelines on practice
• Clear a space in which you feel comfortable e g corner of bedroom, spare room and use this regularly. Wall space is ideal but not essential.
• Leave at least half an hour after a snack and 3 hours after a main meal before you practice
• Choose the optimum time slot for you. In the early morning you are mentally alert but may feel stiffer. In late afternoon/ evening the body is warmed up but the brain is tired.
• You will work best with an empty bladder and bowels
• Be consistent but don’t give up if you miss a session. Just start again the next day
• If unwell do restorative poses
• If menstruating, avoid inversions, strong back bends and long holds in standing poses. Favour resting and forward bending poses.
• If you are just beginning to do home practice, do poses you really like and repeat your simple routine until practice is established.
• If more experienced, either follow routines from a book and/ or vary the practice according to the suggestions below.
• A practice diary is really helpful to motivate you. Jot down what you have done each time/ each week and briefly note how you feel or any questions to ask your teacher

Beginners practice
Each session should include:

1 warming up pose ( as done in class)
1 standing pose
1 pose for a stiff part of you that you want to open up e g shoulders
1 inverted pose where the legs are up e g shoulder stand/ legs
resting up the wall
Svasana – corpse pose

Experienced practice i.e where a practice is established and you want to improve it
Each session should include:

1- 3 warming up poses (as done in class)
Then a different focus each time to cover all the main groups of asanas i e standings, forward bends, back bends, seated twists, supine poses, recuperative and inversions- varied according to your focus . Try to include all the groups over a week/ fortnight. Once a week it is good to do a recuperative session and some simple pranayama if you have learn it in class.

Always finish with Svasana, even for a few minutes.

Books Recommended for Practice Routines
Yoga the Iyengar Way – Mira and Shyam Mehta
Yoga Explained – Mira Mehta
Yoga A Gem for Women – Geeta Iyengar

Books Recommended for explanations of the Asanas
Yoga a Path to Holistic Health – BKS Iyengar
Preliminary Course – Geeta Iyengar

– Frances Homewood

If you’re a student of Sheffield Yoga Centre, email us for a free pdf version of this guide

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