Summer travel, kid’s schedules and family obligations can sometimes make it hard to get to your favorite yoga class. But summer shouldn’t mean you have to take a break from your practice. Here are some tips and tools from SMY Instructors and Students who have a travel or home practice that works for them. Ultimately you will need to find what works for you but know that anyone can practice yoga at independently, not just advanced students. It can be as simple as popping in a DVD or finding an online class, sitting quietly and breathing, or just moving on your mat to some music that inspires you. Read on to discover what works for instructors and students in the SMY community.
Don’t wait until your room is perfect. Put your mat down, get on it and get busy. You will gain perspective on the ‘imperfect-ness’ of your life as your practice matures and grows. You will look forward to your home practice because of the present moment awareness it brings to your life and not because of your outside environment or your special yoga pants. Annie Brugenhemke E-RYT SMY Instructor and Primary Teacher Trainer.
One thing I would recommend for traveling or at home is to take cold showers in the morning. Yes COLD showers! They will wake you up quickly, help open the capillaries, and prepare you for a morning practice of yoga/meditation. It doesn’t have to be a long shower, and it will shorten your morning routine so you have more time in your day. If you are traveling with another person, or a group of people who do not practice with you, it is recommended to wake up early. (At least an hour before everyone else will want to get in the bathroom and start their day) This way your morning practice will not interfere with anyone else, and also they will not be waiting around for you to finish before the day officially gets started. This will help to take pressure off of you while you meditate or do your yoga routine, allowing you to relax more, finding your center much easier. As for an easy practice to do in the morning, a few Sun Salutations is a great way to start. This will work the major muscle groups of the body and allow for a good stretch of the life nerve. A silent meditation is a good way to go after you feel sufficiently warmed-up. If you happen to have a mala (string of 54 or 108 beads) for japa yoga or mantra yoga, use these! Or you can sit quietly focus on your breath for a few cycles and begin chanting a silent mantra to help keep focus. An excellent mantra to use is the ‘Maha Mantra’, it goes “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare”. This is known as the ‘great mantra’ or ‘mantra of all mantras’. It is the most potent mantra we can use at this time and is recommended for anyone, anytime, and anywhere! How easy! Try to meditate for at least 10 minutes, if you can go longer do so. But above all, set a reasonable goal for yourself that you can feasibly accomplish every day. Starting small is great because you can always add more time if you like! Seva Simran, SMY’s Kundalini Instructor, learn more about Seva at www.sevakundalini.com
I practice in the morning with the lights low, sometimes with my glasses off. I get up around 5:30 a.m. before everyone else. I notice I am calmer, stronger and problem-solve much better throughout the day when I practice. It has also made me much more confident in my practice. I used to have to keep Mandy’s home practice notes close by each time I practiced, but I am learning to listen to my body more and add in the poses that I feel I need that day. I have also added a series of core exercises in my pursuit of the headstand away from the wall. I am up to two full breaths balancing in bakasana. (I have also learned to fall on my head and shake it off.) My favorite part about yoga, and the reason that I continue to make time for it at home is that I can constantly see myself getting stronger, more flexible, healthier. I have had no repeats of back pain for over a year, and I believe that is because of my yoga practice and thanks to Sound Method.
I travel weekly for work, when I’m away, I like to stop by a park somewhere in the evenings to practice when it’s warm. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t really plan a sequence for myself too often any more, I just go with what feels natural at the time. I sometimes use an app called ‘Yoga Builder’ to build sequences and get ideas. It’s an app that has pictures of LOTS of poses and you can look through the pictures and drag them into a sequence builder. It seems like it might be a good thing for beginners too because has an option to show suggested poses to follow one that you just selected (i.e. from the same alignment or family). So, it kind of helps to build sequences that make sense. You can also set the breathing and how long to hold a pose. Then of course there’s a playback feature if you want to practice it. I use this to come up with ideas or actually make a sequence I want to follow. If practicing isn’t an option I will sometimes do a guided meditation; yoga nidra or progressive muscle relaxation through a podcast. There are quite a few meditation podcasts available to suit whatever style a person desires. Scott Iossi RYT-200, SMY student and Acro Yoga Instructor.
To me summer is about pounding the pavement to increase my endurance, distance, and cardio – yoga plays an important role in post-run recovery because it slows my breathing while stretching my body. When the temperature starts to rise outside, I refuse to be stuck inside with any kind of fitness my body is craving. Even without an endorphin packed run, I try to dedicate 10-15 minutes of my day for deep breaths and elongating stretches for a quick reward to my mind and body. I’ve found that yoga does not need to be restricted to a video or studio setting, practice can be done at any time and for as much or little time as you have.