Image is from The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Apparently, a habit is an automatic urge to do something often triggered by a cue. The stronger the cue, the more ingrained the habit becomes. Why can’t many of us stop touching our face at present? I don’t have the answers, by the way but many behavioural scientists do and are writing about this.
Routines require practice, deliberate practice like attending your weekly yoga class, gym class etc. Routines require more planning. However, with enough time and enough practice, routines can develop into habits and yoga practice is a good habit.
- Stick to routine:
- – plan your practice at the same time as your class
- – prepare your space ; you walked/drove to class/you spoke to class members – consider music/chat on a device as your roll out your mat and prepare
- You may prefer a short walk or activity before yoga practice
- – key is to make it regular
- Start small:
- once a week is fine; your class may have been once a week
- one movement/pose each practice is also fine
- Set a timer is you feel fidgety/at a loss without a teacher – it will “sound” eventually
- Consider your type/preferences:
- It may be easier for you to move first and then lie down/sit to breathe
- It may be that you can get into your short practice quickly by lying down, finding the support of the floor and exploring your breathing
- Reward yourself
- you may have been used to going to a cafe after class/chatting with class members or going home to shower/have lunch/snack – substitute some “reward”.
Remote contact with class members may also rewards. In class we discuss and compare our practice, class members already give advice to others about their experience on the mat. This is common in our classes. The comments section in this blog can be a platform for some discussion. You will probably have more ueful tips than those above and you can share these with others.
SO – to business – I aim to address some areas of difficulty/discussion that pop up in class. I aim to post on Mondays, Wednesays and Fridays at the same time and to keep the posts short. The latter is a big “ask” for me!!
DOG POSE – pushing/leaning through the bones of the arms.
So difficult to know whether you are pushing/leaning when you begin to practice in a sensory approach to yoga practice:
Teacher : make good handprints and lean through the bones of the arms. Notice when you push and if you are pushing “back off”.
Student: I think that I am pushing
Teacher : Notice that your neck and shoulders brace when you push. Push a bit more then don’t push.
Teacher (too much teacher talk at this stage); dog pose is all about using the legs to free up the shoulders. Use the feet and legs and try to leave the shoulders undisturbed.
Student: (quietly/silently) “I think I’ll go into child’s pose”
**with thanks to posturedirect.com
- Stand behind the back of a kitchen chair. Rest your hands on the top of the back so that you can lean into the chair. Push down and notice – neck and shoulders tense? Shoulders lifted and muscles at the side of the neck braced?
- Try leaning rather than pushing – any difference? There should be a difference, so maybe try again.
- Whilst leaning, walk your feet back to to a place where you can sense that the shoulders and neck are not bracing and that the back is lengthening. Consider bending the knees to sense the feet – inside edge, outside edge, heel and toes. Imagine that you are going into child’s pose and keep the hip flexors relaxed.
- Walk the feet back to the starting position and notice any effect upon the spine and shoulders as you do that.
- Repeat using one arm/both again.
Maybe stand and roll the shoulders or just walk around and allow the arms to swing and the shoulders to sway. Dog pose may be an option, as is lying in semi supine to settle shoulders, back, neck and head. Observe your breath.
With thanks to Pete Blackaby, as ever, for his teaching of dog pose which has revolutionized my practice. He has helped me to realize that if I get into the habit of using my arms too much them my legs will forget to do as much work as they should in this movement and in other daily movements such as geting up and down from a chair, the floor etc. . Use the comments box to let me know how you get on/to provide tips for others.
Enjoy the classes that you are attending. I had better get planning. My reward is now a cup of tea and then a walk.
See you soon.