Updated: Apr 6, 2019
Once you have had a year or so of regular yoga instruction, it may be time to take your practice to a new level, at home! It's time to listen more deeply.
When we begin learning yoga there is quite a bit to learn and we really need an expert to guide us. But then comes the time to trust your own inner guide. The practice you have at home does not have to be difficult or complex at all. You can keep it very simple with just a pose or two a day. With time you can add another pose that has proven to be helpful in your body and for your mind. At some point you may have a whole hour routine that you can do on your own.
It's extremely satisfying to spend as much time in each posture as you wish and without all the constant prompts the teacher is giving all the other students in the class. Silence is the perfect way to be able to hear and follow your inner guide as to how far to go in a pose, when to come out, which pose should follow and so on.
Our bodies know what they need especially after you have given it some guided training to become familiar with the basic poses. Each of us has different needs on any given day and we don't need the same routine or the same time length in each pose to have a fulfilling practice.
Where to begin?
Start by clearing the space you want to practice in. Keep the phone as far from you as you can and eliminate any other distraction you may have. Begin by lying down on your mat. Wait for a minute and feel your body connecting to the floor or earth. Begin to consciously deepen your breath and listen carefully to its sound and length. Increase the length gradually and notice where the breath move into. What part of your lungs? Try breathing into all parts of your lungs, front, sides and back. After a few minutes listen to the inner prompts of what position your body is asking for. Do that. Breathe there until your inner prompts, not your restless mind, guide you to the next desired position. Breathe there too for as long as you feel comfortable and happy.
Keep this up until you feel completely satisfied in your body and your mind is relaxed. Of course there will be mental distractions, thoughts, memories, worries but just note them and go back to the breath.
Commit to a period of time, any amount that you feel you can offer to your practice and stick to it. Stay on the mat. Be with whatever emotion arrises. Breathe through them all and listen to your body's requests for the next posture whether it is correct or not, do it if it feels good. There are 4000 postures, surely your body would like one.
Notice where the discomforts are, deepen the breath and surrender if possible. The discomfort usually eases up when you relax into it. But of course if it persists then it's time to come out and be sure to remember the pose that caused it and do it again soon so that you can work out the blockage that is bothering your peace.
Yoga is a personal practice and it has no rules, not really, except to do not harm yourself. Just work out those kinks, knots and tense areas and of course breathe. That's all!