Last week, we had a brief glimpse into the theoretical aspect of a yoga practice. Yoga is known as a form of physical exercise but it is as much for the mind as for the body. If you can control your mind then the body is also pretty much in your control.
This is my daily practice these days because I am still recovering from a recent illness and I think it should be safe for most beginners but at the end of the day, yoga is really about getting in tune with your own body. So listen to yourself and if something doesn't feel right then just stop.
For a great practice, please find a teacher at least in the beginning to ensure that you are practising each posture correctly.
Daily practice 1
1. Surya namaskar: Ten rounds with the appropriate breathing patterns. If you do enough rounds of this sequence of poses, you end up covering most asanas and their benefits to the human body. Go slow and feel each muscle stretch with every breath.
2. Tree pose: Four rounds of this pose which lead you to balance on each leg and as you balance on one side and then the other, your brain automatically tries to align both its left and right sides as well. A balanced brain is a healthy brain.
3.Cobra pose: Six rounds and avoid the common mistake of raising your back too high. Lift only as much as you can without really using your arms; gradually you will be able to go higher. A strong spine lets you keep your back straight and also strengthens your resolve.
4. Rabbit pose: Hold for three minutes. This stretches your spine and shoulders and because you are in a posture of surrender, it allows you to mentally let go of stress, anxiety and arrogance.
5. Spinal twist: Four rounds of this pose are enough. It massages your internal organs, stretches your back in a way that you can't achieve in normal day-to-day life and allows your mind to be flexible and supple.
These postures let your body relax enough that when you sit cross-legged to begin your breathing, your mind has already withdrawn from its mundane daily activities as it has only been focused on tiny muscular movements and now is able to further withdraw inward with the aid of breathing.
1. 20 rounds of bhastrika.
2. 200 kapalbhati: Be careful, you really need time to build up to this number so start with 30/40 and then proceed with time.
3. Maha bandha: It is part of my practice but incorporate into yours only after practicing for a minimum of six months.
4. Anulom vilom: 25 rounds should do the trick.
5. Breath retention: Draw a deep breath, filling your stomach as well with your breath. Hold for as long as comfortable and release. Repeat three times.
Now is the time to tell your subconscious mind what you want to focus on. It could be anything; from giving your best at work, to losing weight, to achieving certain goals that you have set for yourself.
Just talk to yourself in this deep meditative space, it is almost a method of self-hypnosis though it goes deeper than that and all the rest will follow.
Next and the most important step: Be grateful. Just thank whomever or whatever you believe in: God, energy, the universe for giving you so much, for this breeze which is blowing on you, for the hug your daughter gave you this morning, for the friends who care about you and perhaps even for little Baba Twinkdev’s column which gives you some serious and some seriously silly things to think about. Now open your eyes gently and go ahead and let yourself have the wonderful day that you deserve.