This is Part One of the Discovering My Truth series, entitled The Journey Begins. I am a male breast cancer survivor. You see, breast cancer does not discrimina…
So it’s great that you’ve been going to class once or twice a week and you love how you feel afterward. You like the changes that have been happening, but now you’d like to have that after-yoga feeling more often. So how do you establish a regular home practice? Here are some tips:
Decide how much time you can allot and how many times a week to practice. Keep it short and achievable!
Decide on your content. Again, keep it achievable. Many times in class I’ve suggested that you find your “gateway pose.” This is a pose or movement that you love to do – it feels really good and you want to do it. So start with that (unless a warm up is needed to get to that!). Many people like cat/cow.
That’s it – give it a try! Even a short home practice can set you up for the day, establishing a pleasant mood and creating a small buffer between you and the chaos of the world.
Here are a few of the benefits of a home practice:
fuller, deeper breath
improved sleep patterns
relief from anxiety
ability to see change/growth
What is exciting is that with this steady practice you will be able to notice changes. My students have come to class saying things like, “my feet are more flexible,” “I’m having fewer migraines,” “my back pain is gone,” “I’m standing up straighter without effort,” “that breathing technique is helping me fall asleep!”
As for me, my morning practice has developed over the course of about ten years and it definitely has waxed and waned. I’ve come now to see this waxing and waning as natural and organic so I don’t get discouraged when it seems to drop off. I do my best to keep something of the practice going – a few hip stretches or a couple of my favorite standing poses, maybe a few minutes of meditation and breathing – and know that I will move back into my full practice as soon as I am able.
Michelle Stortz, C-IAYT, RYT500, MFA, is a certified yoga therapist specializing in yoga for cancer and chronic illness. She teaches in numerous medical settings as well as offering private sessions throughout the Philadelphia area. Michelle also leads full-day retreats for people seeking a longer immersion in these practices.
Her teaching is augmented by her studies in meditation and Buddhism and her involvement with the Springboard Meditation Sangha.
Michelle’s work is dedicated to her late husband, Jon Lustig, whom she lost to complications in cancer treatment in 2009.
Visit Michelle’s website for more information.
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