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Thoughts On Yoga


A Comment from one of my readers:

I’ve hit a point where I’m having a hard time keeping up with #365yoga. I’m fairly new, just a few months to having a regular yoga practice. I like the idea of living a yogic lifestyle because I am not a laid back kind of person. I’m still trying to figure out what it means to practice yoga off the mat. I’ve been reading some books about yoga and can see that there’s more to yoga than postures and I appreciate exploring yoga in many ways. It is worth it because it does make me feel good. I’m glad to have found this journey.

My Response:

I have been practicing yoga for 40 years, alone in my own home – I’ve never been to a group yoga class. I really like the idea of solitary yoga practice. You ask: well then, how did you learn?  Answer: From Kareen Zebroff when she had the most wonderful Yoga TV show, a long time ago. Also, I would sometimes pick up a new pose from a Yoga magazine. The point is over the years, I have developed my own routine that works for me and makes me feel very good.

For me, Yoga is not social – it is a very personal thing just as is meditation. I have never had a goal to practice yoga everyday. I do practice my meditation everyday (at least try to), but the yoga – I know when I need it – sometimes everyday, sometimes I’ll go a week. My body tells me loud and clear. I get nervous, can’t sleep – whatever, but I always do yoga – just not everyday and that is fine with me. I love it. It makes my body and soul feel very, very good.

Yoga has a very practical side to it. If I am awake at 1:11 or 2:22AM unable to sleep, I will sit on the carpet and do 15-20 min of yoga. I stretch those joints as far as they will go. Short poses lasting 5, 8 or 13 slow breaths. (I’m into Fibonacci numbers). This always relaxes my whole nervous system. 9 times out of 10 when I return to bed, I will fall asleep, literally, within minutes. Also, in the beginning, certain postures were absolutely unattainable but I saw others do them, so I set goals. I remember, my first goal was to get my head on the floor while sitting with my legs apart. This isn’t a traditional asana, but I enjoy doing it. It took me three years of practice to accomplish this goal. But every time I got closer to my goal I felt so-o-o good about myself. That’s Yoga. It has immediate benefits, but it is a long term process physically. Of course, while you are doing Yoga, it is important to still the mind by concentrating on the breath. – slow breath. Hope this helps. I’ve been doing this for a long time and really enjoy it.

I would really appreciate comments from readers about their experiences with Yoga practice. Benefits and difficulties. . . Thanks.

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21 comments on “Thoughts On Yoga

  1. Hello John. To read how u developed a personal yoga practice is very interesting. I always assumed that having a good yoga teacher and following a particular sequence is important. Very useful to know that just to practice and pay attention to the breath and stretch is important. Thank you for the information.

  2. Well – it’s not quite that simple because the manner and sequence of how you actually do the poses is important. I highly recommend going to a class with a good instructor until, at least, you feel comfortable with your knowledge of how to do everything.

    For me, though, I have been doing the same routine for many years and I never get bored with it. As humans, we breath the same way for our whole lives and I never heard anyone say they were bored with breathing. It’s actually quite an exhilarating experience, isn’t it.

    I do my routine in the same sequence everytime. Maybe sometime I will do a separate blog on what I do and how I do it. Thanks for the comment, I really appreciate it. . ./J

  3. I started practicing yoga ten years ago, but have never managed to get into a regular routine (once a week has been my max). Yoga has changed my life, and is very important to me, but I have never managed to do one whole session of it at home by myself. I have been very lucky to have had talented and inspiring teachers and so far it has been their guidance that has helped me improve. Like you, I feel when I need yoga. I will take this opportunity to try a personal practice at home.
    Thanks for the post.

    • I wouldn’t worry about doing a whole session at home. Just create your own little routine that lasts for maybe 15-20 minutes. It could be a series of your favourite asanas. For timing, I am a fan of Fibonacci numbers. That’s 1-2-3-5-8-13-21. It helps me focus on my breath. The important thing is to breath slowly and naturally. I will hold my poses, usually, for only 8 or 13 breaths. If I’m feeling really energetic, I’ll go to 21. If I’m really tired with no energy I’ll for for a count of 5 breaths and stop. The only rule is: never stop in between numbers – that’s a no-no. If you do 5 and then go to 6, now you’re committed to do 8. If you do 8 and then go to 9, now you’re committed to go to 13. If you do 13 and go to 14, now you’ve committed yourself to go all the way to 21. Have fun with this; I do.

      Good luck, . . ./John

  4. Pingback: First Solo Yoga Practice « Love Out Loud

  5. I have plans to start practicing yoga, but have hesitated simply because I didn’t want to be in a class. I am encouraged to know that I can just start. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • You’re welcome, you’re welcome you’re welcome. If you every need advice, just ask. If you don’t want a class, make sure you find a good video to learn from . There are quite a few out there. I don’t have any recommendations, because I have been doing the same routine for many years. Good luck – it’s worth it.

      . . ./J

  6. I find it so interesting that you’ve never taken a group class! After practicing as part of a group for several years, it is only recently, as I’ve been training to become a teacher, that I’ve developed a comfortable home practice. It is a beautiful thing! I find a short sun salutation and an inversion in the morning along with an inversion/meditation before bed to be lovely complements to my more rigorous group practice in the studio.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, and for wishing me well in my own journey at http://thisiswherethehealingbegins.com !

    • Thanks for the comment Christina.

      I’ve often thought about trying a group class because I’m always open to learning more, but just never got around to it. I do basically the same routine every time I practice. Each time, it lasts between 20 minutes and 40 minutes depending upon how long I hold each position.

      I guess I’m a bit of a loner because I just really enjoy practicing in the privacy of my own home. I have a 6×8 plush wool carpet (purple and gold color) that is my “yoga home”. I always hold my positions counting breaths using Fibonacci numbers – I don’t know why I do this – it just seems right for me.

      Everyone should really get in touch with their feelings and follow those feelings into action that feels just right for them and their situation.
      . . ./John

  7. Thanks for your comment on my blog! I’m new to yoga (only 1 week!) but I’ve already noticed how relaxing it is. It was interesting to realize how tense of a person I was as I tried to relax my muscles one by one in class! I was never into yoga until a week ago. I’m so glad I opened my mind & gave it a chance.

  8. I really appreciate your thoughts. I have been practicing Yoga in a school for 4 years, once a week.

    Sometimes, I do it at home, but not more than 20min (I´m lazy and anxious). I used to say that is my “quick yoga”.

    In this “tecquinic” I only do asanas that I appreciate and I stay more time than usual in a asana that I really like and, of course, do not do asanas that I don´t aprecciate, like strenght asanas. :-P

    Than you for sharing your thoughs and experience.

    • Actually, Camilla, 20 minutes is usually how long my Yoga routine takes. I have a whole routine, from head to foot, and I only hold each pose for between 5 and 21 breaths depending on which pose it is. I have found this is all I need. Mostly, I do Yoga for flexibility, not strength. I used to work out in the gym for strength. After all these years, I am extremely flexible. When I go for a doctors checkup, he checks my flexibility ( I don’t really know why) and he is always amazed. I Also have a meditation practice that I do, separate from the Yoga. The meditation, I do for approximately 1 hour. Honestly, if I had to give up one of these it would be the Yoga in favor of the meditation.

      Thanks for the comment – much appreciated and I’m glad I was able to contribute to your well-being.

      . . ./John

  9. Hi, John;

    I started my yoga practice… a long time ago. Over the years, I avoided it when it brought me too close to uncomfortable feelings, embraced it whenever I found true relaxation in the midst of anxiety, and now that I am in my 50′s, I do yoga because I just don’t know how else to pray so dimensionally.

    I’m so much more for having embraced yoga on a “do it or I’ll kick my own butt” basis. At first, I resented the boundaries I set for myself (it’s okay, I laugh, too), then I bargained with myself… it’s been a very ironic journey for me to learn a genuine path.

    I learned, that as often as possible, I avoid it; however, and here’s the kick, I love it with all my heart.

    Yoga led me to myself… and sometimes that’s a great thing… and sometimes it hurts to look at who I am.

    That’s the truth about my experience with yoga.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog, John. I’m pretty sure I’ll do yoga until I’m blind, deaf, and my spine threatens to break in half… and then I will just be very simple about it all, because I love it.

    I am a better person for practicing yoga.

    ~meredith~

  10. Thanks for sharing this link on my blog, I love to hear how others practice! I am in total agreement that yoga is a completely personal journey and I love being able to open up in my own home, and listen to what my body/soul is hankering for. That’s a journey I’m still on. :)
    I will say that I started out in an intimate group setting, on average of two to eight students, and I found that there was something so healing about everyone in a room working separately, yet still as one sort of mass entity, toward balance.
    I was just introduced to hatha yoga a little over a year ago, having had less-than-pleasant experiences with bikram before. I now understand the different and enjoy both, and have dabbled some in pranayama as well. It is encouraging to hear from someone who has incorporated home practice for forty years now, I know that I will be continuing to work on having yoga as a vital part of my life.
    Cheers!

  11. Thank you for your post; I am the opposite of you…I try to go to group yoga practice at least 4 times a week and even though I would like to practice for the other 3, I’m hesitant to practice at home because I do not want to make mistakes or cut corners that I would not if my teacher was there with me.

    I also set goals for myself…when I began yoga 6 months ago, I found arda chandrasana the most difficult and embarassing pose! I could not straighten my down leg and barely twist my body. As time went on, I felt my body opening and one day (out of the blue, it felt like) I was able to do it, and now it is my favorite pose. It’s amazing being able to reach seemingly unnattainble poses! As my practice continues I’ve found that my extremely tight hamstrings are the most difficult challenge to over come and the most difficult muscle group to open.

  12. I’ve been practicing yoga at home for six years. For those who want to practice at home I can recommend “Eckhart Yoga” as N excellent site to learn from. Very reasonably priced, too. The same teacher offers free videos on youtube. Check out yogatic.

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