By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Whether you have multiple Yoga certifications or have practiced at home all your life, your own private sessions are an important part of your personal life. If you keep doing the same practice, you may begin to feel stale. If you change your practice drastically, some of the benefits you usually experience may disappear.
Have you ever had a food that you loved just “go down wrong?” Or an outfit that looks great on you, not fit right one day? The same is true of Yoga training: all asanas (Yoga poses) are not created equal, and not every pose is good for every time you practice.
Firstly, it is good to know that some asanas are calming and others are energizing. Think of your practice as a beloved recipe, in which you tweak a few ingredients each time. There are many factors, which influence your Yoga practice, such as: time of day, season, energy level, and temperature. Each of these factors play a role in your practice. Consider what you hope to achieve; then build your Yoga session around your objective. At the same time, always keep in mind that changing your rituals too often will keep you from feeling grounded. Opening with the same mantra, and maintaining the same general format, can keep you from feeling unsettled.
Calming Yoga asanas include:
Forward bends, like Uttanasana (standing forward bend) and Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)
Balasana (child’s pose)
Supta Virasana (reclining hero pose)
Virasana (hero pose)
Siddhasana (easy pose)
Padmasana (lotus pose)
Energizing asanas include:
Back bends, like Urdhva Dhanurasana
Surya Namaskar (sun salutation)
Vrkasana (tree pose)
In general, you want to alter your Yoga sessions from simple to complex and from heating to cooling, regardless of other factors. So a “recipe” might be: spring + 6 am + cool temperature + outdoor garden practice = standing, energizing Yoga asanas from simple to complex, with many openers to take in the beauty of the garden.
Another might be winter + 8 pm + very warm room + heavy dinner = gentle stretches, seated, calming asanas with restorative, symmetrical sequences and spending time warming up muscles before any jumping. It is usually recommended for all practices, even energizing ones, to end with Savasana or corpse pose.
Other factors to consider when building your practice include practicing extensions after shortening or vice versa (such as a forward after back bend). Plan the orientation level of the asana sequence. For most people , it is more comfortable to go from standing to an intermediate Yoga pose before an inversion.
Ayuverdic practice also focuses on the three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Roughly speaking, they comprise elements of air, fire, water, and earth. Depending on your dominant dosha, you will want to adjust your Yoga training sessions to utilize asanas that complement your type. For example: Vata, or “air” types, will need more calming asanas, to counteract their tendency to be more vague and wandering in thoughts, and so on. If you adhere to these teachings, you will want to research more on your dosha and which asanas most effectively encompass it.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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