About Me

Yoga changed my Life and it's just too good a thing to keep to myself! I have been practicing yoga since 1995 and am a certified yoga instructor. I teach a combination of classical Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow. My teaching style is safe, compassionate and challenging at the same time. I teach at a number of studios, and also offer private and group lessons!

In addition to my schedule, I post other writings here, about yoga and Life in general. For private or group lessons, contact me at: workofheartyoga@gmail.com .

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How often should I do yoga?

I’ve been asked this question more times in the last week and a half than I can count. My quick answer is: every day! “WHAAAAT,” you ask, “but, how?!” My more detailed answer…

Your yoga practice is very personal. Each person is working with his/her own mind, body, finances and schedules. People practice for different reasons too: some practice to lose weight, some to calm their mind, while others want to build greater strength or flexibility. The wonderful thing about yoga is that you can do it anywhere, with just yourself!

The tricky part is getting yourself to do it, to do it safely, and in a way that allows you to feel some sense of progress.

I think it’s important to attend classes when you can, so an instructor can do adjustments with you, to build your awareness of how you move, how to practice safely, and how to use your breathe in a pose. These are things you can work on at home too.

However, its’ hard for people to make time each day or to feel motivated practicing on their own, which is why many choose to come to class. On the flip-side, it can feel frustrating to come to a class once a week, and feel sore after each class, or like you aren’t progressing in a pose. So, we’re back to the dilemma that not everyone can come to class more than once or twice a week, right?! ARRRRGGGGGH!!!

Fear not, I have some ideas:

1. Come to class when you can - Don’t beat yourself up when you can’t:
* Beating yourself up will make you associate attending class with a chore. Not good. But give yourself kudos when you can come to class!
* Think about creative ways to make it happen – work it out with your employer to come into work earlier, so you can leave a little earlier (and catch a class you love – most likely mine.) One of my students gave up the latte she bought every work day at almost $20/week so she could spend it on yoga classes. Some studios also have work-study opportunities… just some ideas.
* Rushing to a class does not help you enjoy the class - if you do, take a moment outside the studio door to take 3 deep breathes before entering.

2. Private lessons – Know thyself:
* You can schedule them when it’s convenient for you and do them in your own home. Invite a few friends or include family, and you can lower the cost of a one-on-one private lesson.
* You get instruction that is tailored to suit your physical/meditative needs, and goals if you choose to set some.
* For beginners, who are often shy about taking a class, you get to learn the basics, you may feel freer to ask questions, AND the instructor can really focus on you and any difficulty you have with a pose.

3. Some is better than none – Home/work practice:
* Don’t feel like you have to do the full hour/hour and a half! Ten minutes after you wake up can make a world of difference. Do 3 sun salutations, or pick 5 of your favorite poses and do them. You won’t regret it.
* At work in the middle of your day, stand up, place your hands on the desktop, step your feet back and do a variation of down-dog. Close your door and do Warrior II if you need some courage, or tree pose if you feel off-balance. Breathe!
* Keep a yoga mat in your car trunk. Keep a yoga mat or blanket rolled out at home. Some people create a little space for doing yoga in the house – for others, they go outside to the beach, a patch of grass, their patio etc.

Of COURSE I’d love it if you attended 3 (of my) classes per week – I’m trying to make a living doing this! But that’s just not practical for everyone. My overall advice about doing it every day, at home, at work…it’s possible! Doing a little bit of yoga each day will get it “in” your body. Your body will start to crave it, and you’ll find that you are turning 10 minutes into 20, 5 poses into 10, and you’ll notice the difference in your poses when you do come to class, but also in your body and your mind...that’s for sure.

So, feel free to post comments on ways YOU have been able to incorporate more yoga into your life. It just might give someone else a great idea!

Peace out,
April

4 comments:

daprovocateur said...

I believe that yoga isn't what happens in a sweaty studio or on your mat. Yoga classes and personal practice, I think, prepare you for an awareness of self and the world around you that you can take with every moment - every conscious breath - of the day.

Sitting up straight in your chair, feeling the wave of yogic breath while in line at the store, sharing a smile with a stranger on the street - it's all yoga to me!

InsightOut said...

One should use yoga classes as refinement tool for the poses they already know and as a learning tool for new poses.

Any moment has the potential to incorporate yoga. Tying shoes, reaching for a notepad, speaking to public.

Incorporating awareness into daily life is key for new yogis.

D.M. said...

April, thanks so much for the info. You really helped this Newbie get some perspective. You are absolutely right: my body is starting to crave yoga. Nothing makes me feel better than yoga if I've slept in some squirrely position all night.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me feel ok about just starting with 10 minutes tonight!