If you have been struggling to design your yoga practice, here are three things that will guide you.
1. Intention Setting
Setting an intention is an essential part of the entire practice. It offers us a sense of direction and motivation. It can sometimes be tricky, but here is what you can do.
Find a comfortable seat; you can keep your eyes opened or closed, take three deep breaths.
Ask yourself,” Why am I here today?”
Close your eyes and take a few moments of silence.
Listen carefully to the first answer that pops into your mind.
Try to remember this and recall it whenever you feel you’re derailing during your practice.
Intention setting can also be done in a structured way. What I usually do is narrow them down into three main categories.
Before you begin your practice, list down one intention for each category.
Read through them a few times and notice which one of them calls for your attention the most.
Here are a few examples.
“I want to improve my legs flexibility’
“I want to strengthen my breath and body.
“I want to connect to my inner peace.”
“I want to strengthen my relationship with myself”.
“I want to dedicate this to mother earth.”
“I wish for the well-being of everyone and every being in this universe.”
2. To Flow or Not To Flow?
Let us first understand what the intention to include a flow into our practice is.
A flow or dynamic style of practice is usually done to promote healthy blood, lymph, and breath circulation. It helps to improve our joint mobility and muscles flexibility and enhance the detoxification process through sweating.
Not every practice requires a flow, although I would highly recommend that you do it as a warm-up or preparation for stronger asanas.
A simple flow example would be Sun Salutations. However, Sun Salutation mainly works the sagittal plane, so it is best to include a few twisting, side lunge and side bending poses after that.
If you wish to design your flow sequence, remember to keep it simple at first. Stick to linking a maximum of 3 yoga postures to make one sequence.
It is a common mistake to do too many yoga postures in a single practice. Select only a few that resonates with your intention. Repetition is very effective to create muscle memories and enhancing the internal benefits of yoga postures. However, avoid too many repetitions to prevent straining the body and breath. Aim for 3 to 5 rounds of the same flow and 2 to 3 repetitions for static holds.
You may repeat the same flow for 2 to 3 weeks. Modify the flow when you notice improvements in your breath and body.
Remember, Balance is the key; listen to your body.
Always end your practice with a few static postures and Savasana for at least 10 minutes to calm down the nervous system.