March Focus of the Month – Developing a Home Practice

The Obstacles are Many, But the Path Is Worth Taking!

SONY DSCImagine rolling out your yoga mat in a tidy corner of your home just minutes before the sun peeks over the horizon. Stepping onto the mat, you honor the stiffness of your morning muscles by moving slowly and softly, enjoying a long inhale as you lift your arms above your head. On the exhale, you drape your body over deeply bent knees and then sway to and fro for a few moments before beginning your practice in earnest.

For today’s session, you’re kind to yourself. You stretch more than you strengthen because you sense that is what your body needs. The practice lasts about 30 minutes, and that satisfies you completely. As you roll your mat back up, the other members of your house begin to stir. You’ve logged your alone time, and it was a wonderful way to begin the day. Next up: a warm cup to sip on and breakfast.

If it sounds a little luxurious that’s because it is. It’s not every day that we can claim a quiet, early moment before everyone in the house is abuzz. Sometimes there isn’t even a clear, uncluttered corner to be found. The hurdles to developing a home practice are plentiful. Luckily, though, they’re not impossible to overcome, and—trust us—they’re worth hopping over! This month, we share some of the most common obstacles to developing a home practice and offer advice and tips for overcoming them.

Over the years, you’ve shared with us many reasons why a home practice is just plain tough to commit to. Here are some of the most frequently cited problems and their potential solutions:

 

I can’t wake up that early.

Then don’t! It’s certainly not written in stone that a yoga practice must be done in the A.M. Although it is true that Iyengar and others describe the pre-dawn hours as the ideal time to practice, the fact is, if you’re a night owl aiming to practice as the sun rises, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you have been up all night caring for or worrying about others, then sleep is your first yoga priority.

Start by squeezing in a practice where you can. It could be a five-minute practice in the afternoon or ten minutes before bed. By beginning with these small, manageable increments, your goal of developing a home practice will be an achievable one.

 

I wouldn’t know how to move. I need the guidance of a teacher.

If you can stretch your body as you’re waking up in bed, you can practice yoga asana. Nevermind the Sanskrit terminology or precision alignment cues. Tap into your body as it is in this moment. Where is it stiff? What could use a little strengthening? Be guided by your internal wisdom, and allow your breath to lead the way.

Many have written on this subject, and among our favorites is Eric Schiffmann who wrote Moving Into Stillness. He reminds us that our breath and intuition are a powerful pair. Inhales generally bring us into expansive stretches, making your spine as long as it can be, for instance, and exhales permit a deepening as in forward fold or in twists. We needn’t know the name of a pose to move our bodies. Think of yoga as your personal dance. One that revitalizes your body and feeds your soul. No one is watching, so no movement is wrong.

Yoga is a process of deep listening. It can be helpful to remember that the yoga poses as we know them were developed quite late along the timeline of yogic history. Get out of your own way to let your best self shine forth. Shed your layers of doubt, and trust the wisdom already inside you. Get breathing. Get moving.

 

But seriously, I don’t know any of the poses.

California yoga teacher Jason Crandell wrote a lovely article not too long ago in Yoga Journal. In addition to offering insights and motivation for beginning a home practice, he offers short sequences that will help you structure a complete-feeling home session.

We’ve also found Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual by David Swenson an invaluable reference for go-to sequencing. We haven’t found a clearer, easier-to-follow instruction manual, and the spiral binding makes it perfect for resting on the ground and viewing as you practice.

 

Yoga with kidI don’t have the time.

Neither do we! No one does. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to get all we want done done. You’ve heard this advice before: It’s a matter of priority. But don’t stop reading there. If family and career and everything else come first, we are doing family and career and everything else a disservice. When you invest time, even little spurts of time, in yourself–your peace of mind, your wellness, your happiness, your health–you have more to give and everyone is better off.

Maybe it’s unrealistic to begin with 90-minute or even 60-minute practice sessions, but two minutes here and ten minutes there are a perfectly good place to begin. When ten minutes becomes habit, you’ll want to bump it up to fifteen and then maybe twenty. Before you know it, you’ll be immersed in yoga for 30 or 40 minutes. Start small. Forgive yourself if it’s not happening the way you imagined. Keep rolling out that mat.

One of our students shared a tip that has worked for her: Keep your mat rolled out! After a while, you won’t be able to ignore its call.

 

I have four little children, two German Shepherds, and too much furniture in the way.

Then yoga is your medicine, and it is especially essential for you! We’re not strangers to these types of “distractions,” ourselves. There are a few things you can do.

Approach #1: Insist on finding time in those late-night or early morning hours when the house is relatively quiet. If this doesn’t work, don’t be discouraged. Read on!

yoga_mind_bodyApproach #2: Re-envision what you think of as a yoga practice. I kid you not when I tell you that half of my yoga is practiced with an eight-year-old clinging to my torso. So what that these sessions aren’t the stuff of Google Images: I’m not wearing white or sitting in front of a waterfall as the heavens bestow a rapturous light upon my countenance. Life is messy and chaotic, and true yoga helps us to find the calm amidst the storm. If I didn’t open up to this re-envisioning, I wouldn’t have known that yoga can make me giggle until I fall over and bring me closer to the ones I love.

Approach #3: Just as you would insist on privacy in the bathroom or in your home office, insist on designating time and space if you’d really like to practice by yourself. Respect your own requirements and enlist everyone else’s respect too. If you’re the parent of a toddler or an infant, see Approach #4.

Approach #4: Nap time is the golden hour if you’re home alone with bebe. Of course, it doesn’t always go as planned, does it? If Approach #2 isn’t cuttin’ it, the best you can do is reach out, reach out, reach out. Develop a support network! Trade babysitting time with other parents who need a moment to themselves. Find a Mama & Me class (like ours at 12:30 every Tuesday), or ask someone to watch the little one while you find your way to the studio. Sometimes your best home practice is found at your home away from home. 😉

 

Your home practice can become your most valuable course in the Self. Since each day is different, you’ll be able to tailor your session so that it suits your mood and energy level today. Some days you’ll invert and contort. Some days you’ll simply sit to clear your mind.  Let us know how your home practice is going, and do share any of the obstacles holding you back if we haven’t addressed them here!

 

Stay in touch and see you at the studio.

 

Leigha & Jacqui

Prenatal Yoga Added to Schedule–Begins Sunday, 3/22, 3:00-4:15pm

Prenatal Yoga Added to the Schedule

Every Sunday Beginning March 22nd, 3:00-4:15

First Class on March 22nd is FREE!

 

prenatal yoga, prenatal yoga kingston ny

It’s no secret that prenatal yoga can be one of the best forms of exercise for mamas-to-be. Prenatal yoga can help pave the road for a more joyous pregnancy, a more confident labor & delivery and a better postpartum recovery. Join mom and certified yoga instructor, Cara Costello (RYT 200), every Sunday, starting March 22nd, for this 75 minute prenatal yoga class open to all levels.  Each week, we will open the floor to discussion so that future mamas can share stories, concerns & ideas about topics related to pregnancy. After our discussion, we’ll explore breathing techniques and gentle prenatal poses for women new to yoga and we will even touch on some sequences for more experienced practitioners. Each class will end with restorative postures, meditation and final relaxation. Come to connect with your baby, your body and other mamas-to-be; join us as we build a prenatal community.

Cara Costello

Cara Costello headCara Costello (RYT 200) specializes in hatha and prenatal yoga practice.  Before life brought her to Red Hook in 2013, she taught yoga and ESL in Pittsburgh while completing her yoga teacher training with Joanne Vandenhengel at 3rd Street Yoga.  In addition to experiencing prenatal yoga firsthand during the pregnancies of her two children, she also trained with prenatal instructors Mary Beth Kelly and Deena Blumenfeld.

Cara Costello familyA teacher by trade with over 10 years of ESL teaching experience, Cara brings to the mat a love of teaching combined with a passion for yoga.  Cara has taught yoga to students aged 3 to 93, and she strongly believes that everyone has something to gain from this timeless craft.  Each person’s journey with yoga is unique and she encourages students to find and celebrate their own practice.

Core Anatomy & Movement Workshop–Saturday, May 23rd, 2:30-4:30pm

Core Anatomy & Movement

An Experiential Workshop with Michael Stein

Saturday, May 23rd, 2:30-4:30pm

 

This intensive workshop will focus on the anatomy of the 3 primary cores: the torso, hip & shoulder.  You will learn how to use yoga asanas and short sequences to isolate these muscles and create more length and strength during your yoga practice. We will break up the class with sun salutes, asana sequences as well as anatomy of the core muscles for better understanding. This workshop is perfect for any yogi, from the newcomer to the experienced practitioner, who is interested in learning more about the core anatomy and its relation to yoga asana movement.


Core Anatomy & Movement Workshop



Michael Stein is the Director of Ashtanga Yoga of New Paltz.  He has led fourteen yoga teacher training programs as well as a variety of workshops on Anatomy and Physiology.

Munchkin & Me — A 4-Week Session, Saturdays in March, for 3-5 year olds

Munchkin & Me Yoga

with your 3-5 year old

A 4-week session, every Saturday in March from 12:00-1:00pm

Dates:

March 7th

March 14th

March 21st

March 28th

Cost:

$72.00 for the entire session. Sorry, no drop-ins

Kids Yoga with Mel TothCome explore yoga with your 3-5 year old with the enthusiastic Mel Toth who brings a wealth of playful ideas for sharing yoga with your child. Each session includes partner poses and group activities to foster connection and cooperation, as well as yoga-themed story time and alphabet coloring handouts to reinforce print awareness and listening skills. Body and breath awareness are interwoven throughout, culminating in a guided relaxation for you and your child at the end of each class.

Space is limited, so please reserve your spot below.


I’d like to register




AcroYoga Weekly Meet-Up — Sundays, 6:30-7:30pm

We’re happy to announce that we are now hosting a weekly Acro-Yoga meetup!

Every Sunday from 6:30-7:30 P.M.

By donation. All levels welcome. No experience necessary.

All proceeds will go toward funding the meet-up itself.

What is AcroYoga?

Displaying IMG_3951.JPGIt’s partner yoga that uses elements of yoga, acrobatics, and Thai Yoga Massage. It’s delightfully adventurous and healing all at once. It’s performed in groups of three: a base, a flyer, and a spotter. We’ll alternate roles so that everyone gets a chance in every role.

What’s the format?

This is an informal meet-up. A teacher will be present to oversee the group. We’ll choose between three and five poses from the AcroYoga Manual to practice each week. We can lead and assist you if you need guidance or you can be self-guided. Come by yourself, or bring a friend. You can work with your partner exclusively, or we can mix it up.

IMG_3984 Questions?

E-mail us at info@theyogahouseny.com

 

 

 

 

 

photo 1AcroYoga at The Yoga House, Yoga Kingston, NY Hudson Valley

AcroYoga Kingston New York The Yoga House Hudson Valley