February 10, 2012

Yoga Chuck's Practice

One hour thirty minutes or more a day six days a week for my Yoga practice, no way right? Well I started out slow five minutes a day and worked my way up. That five minutes would kick my butt and when done I'd need a thirty minute recovery lying on the living room floor to get my energy back.

I practice that long because that's what my body is telling me. It feels comfortable and I believe I need it. Once in a while there are days after 15 minutes into my practice my body is telling me to stop and skip today and either go back to bed or take it easy and I listen.

The length of practice should not be set in stone, that is a goal your trying to achieve. Everyone's body is different and we are all in different places in life at different times. The body will let you know when it has had enough. Start slow and work your way up to your comfort zone.

I do three days of intermediate Yoga with three days of advanced Yoga weekly. One day intermediate next day advanced for six days then one day is an easy day doing demo poses for my morning Gentle Slow Yoga, and evening Hatha New Beginner Yoga classes.
It's important to have a regular practice at least three days a week to reap the benefits. You will be better off doing several short practices a week opposed to one long practice per week. Like the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", so eating 30 apples at the end of the month won't get the job done.

I recommend finding a teacher that works for you, we all have our own style and personality that sets up the atmosphere in the class. I spent my first three years practicing Yoga from videos. I injured myself from not seeing and understanding the technical side of the pose. A teacher shows how to setup, go into, hold, and come out of poses as well as explaining why and other helpful information.

About every eight weeks or so I back off the depth and time in each pose, as well as the length of my practice to give my body a rest. This resets the body and mind so when I come back to my normal practice it's with more vigor, freshness, and energy. That naturally lets the body step out of the normal box that was created through the same old day in and day out practice.

If practicing at home you get to the point you are comfortable, then you can slowly test the stretch going to the edge of your flexibility without pain. Approach your practice with a sense of curiosity rather than self-judgement or competitiveness. This approach makes it easier to motivate yourself and stay present during the practice.

Once you think you've mastered the poses you've actually just begun. I've talked to teachers who've been doing Yoga for 30 years and they are still learning and tweaking their poses.

So basically you have to make the decision to commit to a practice that works for you several times a week and stick with it, the quality of your life depends on it.

Healthy & Happy,
Yoga Chuck


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