September 23, 2010.
The time of day for practice of the yoga poses, asanas, can be determined by the busyness of your schedule. Early morning seems to work well for many because the day’s activities are not yet in full force. The mind is calmer, and the lists for the day have not yet begun. Having the recommended empty stomach for the practice is also easier at this time. The poses may look better later in the day, when the body naturally has more flexibility; yet, the effect of doing them earlier can actually help rid our bodies of the lactic acid buildup that causes early morning stiffness. The day seems to go smoother when we start off relaxed and limber.
Choose a quiet place for your practice. Turn off the ringer on the phone and, if necessary, put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Have a well-padded floor for maximum comfort. If you are not feeling well or have physical challenges, many of the “floor” poses can be done on your bed. The temperature of the room should be warm—but not too hot or cold—just right for your body to be able to let go. Have at least two pillows and blankets available to use as props and covers.
If you live in a noisy area or there are distractions in your home, a nice music tape helps you to bring the focus inward. Using an instructional yoga CD (like “Relax, Move & Heal“) encourages you to do the complete session with rests in between. The mind can relax knowing that the CD is the timekeeper.
As you become accustomed to the poses and the sequence, you may be tempted to leave out the resting time between the poses. Don’t! This time in between the poses is just as important as the poses themselves.
The heavy mental burdens that we carry on our shoulders cause much tension, and we are chronically hunched over. Also, we tend to cave in our chests as if to protect our hearts from emotional pain. We are protecting them so much that we stop the love from flowing in and out. As we relax our shoulders, we can lay down our burdens; you our chest and heart are able to expand.
A series of backward bending yoga poses, followed by forward bending poses, followed by twists helps room as him and him to strengthen and remove built-up tension and correct body posture. When the entire spine is stretched and twisted, it promotes flexibility.
With these poses many of the organs in the abdomen are squeezed and revitalized. In our stressful lives, these organs and glands are adversely affected.
The pancreas and the small and large intestines are replenished with fresh blood and energy. The kidneys and adrenal glands, which are located in the back under the lower rib cage seem to really enjoy these poses. I picture the kidneys with smiles and the adrenal glands being charged like a car battery on a cold winter’s day.
When our adrenal glands run out of energy about 10:00 AM or 3:00 PM, instead of taking a rest or doing some revitalizing poses, what do we do? We jolt them with a cup of coffee. That lasts until the caffeine rush is over; then we are back in the same slump. So another cup of coffee is administered until, at last, when we go to sleep for rest and rejuvenation, we are all wired up. You may even want to try a few of these poses at your desk for a healthy boost of energy mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
As we move the body in the yoga poses, the head and heart usually go in the same direction, sometimes even in a different direction from the limbs. This could be a metaphor for our daily lives. When we align the heart and head—no matter what the rest of the body or the world says or does—we are in agreement with ourselves.
❤ The Healing Path of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi