Ambika Yoga

Sivananda yoga classes in Brussels

Starting a home yoga practice

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Sampoorna_Yoga_Studio_ReceptionIt’s one thing coming to a yoga class on a regular basis, but it’s quite another practicing on a daily basis. When you start with yoga, it’s important to find a studio and teacher(s) that can teach you the basics in the right way: proper relaxation, pranayama, sun salutations, asanas and if you are lucky, yoga philosophy and meditation. Then you’ll come once a week, or more often, to class. However, yoga doesn’t stop there, yoga can be a way of life. It can transform you quite literally.

Finding yoga has been beneficial to me in so many ways. For instance, helping to relax by learning to breathe properly. This knowledge makes every day situations much lighter and easier to deal with, whether it’s giving a presentation in front of a crowd, telling bad news to somebody or dealing with aggression. Going back to your breathing grounds you, makes you powerful, in control and self-assured.

Learning to relax properly has helped me to connect to my physical body and made me recognize tensions in parts of my body that I wasn’t aware of before and enables me to do something about them, to unwind.

HomeObviously you first need to know how to do sun salutations and asanas in order to get the benefits and not get injured while practicing. If you’ve been coming to class regularly for some time and know the sequence of a basic Sivananda hatha yoga class, you can start your own (daily) home practice in addition to coming to a group class.

Yoga can give you tremendous energy, vitality, wisdom and peace of mind. When you practice on a daily basis, it becomes part of you and helps you in each and every aspect of your life as you become more grounded and in control of your thoughts, your mind and body.

In the morning you are especially stiff, most of us are, so make sure to do at least 8 sets of sun salutations before doing any asana in order to warm up your body properly.

AmbikaYoga-profile smallA 20 minutes home practice:

  • Initial relaxation in savasana = 2 minutes
  • Chant OM 3 times
  • Pranayama:
    • Practice either 3 rounds of kapalabathi (with retention) or
    • 8 rounds of anuloma viloma (inhale left, 4 counts, retain 16, exhale right 4, inhale right 8, retain 16, exhale left 8 = 1 round) = 8 minutes
  • Sun salutations: 8 to 10 sets (4 or 5 rounds on each leg) = 8 minutes
  • 1 asana of your choice =1-2 minutes
  • Short relaxation in savasana = 2 minutes
  • Chant OM 3 times

A 30 minutes home practice :

  • Initial relaxation in savasana = 2 minutes
  • Chant OM 3 times
  • Pranayama:
    • Practice either 3 rounds of kapalabathi (with retention) or
    • 8 rounds of anuloma viloma (inhale left, 4 counts, retain 16, exhale right 4, inhale right 8, retain 16, exhale left 8 = 1 round) = 8 minutes
  • Sun salutations: 8 to 10 sets (4 or 5 rounds on each leg) = 8 minutes
  • Shoulder stand = 2 minutes
  • Plough =1 minute
  • Savasana = 5 breaths
  • Fish = 1 minute
  • Savasana = 5 breaths
  • Sitting forward bend = 2 minutes
  • Inclined plane = 4 breaths
  • Forward savasana = 5 breaths
  • Cobra = 5-8 breaths
  • Forward savasana = 5 breaths
  • Triangle or tree pose = 5-8 breaths on each leg
  • Final relaxation in savasana = 4 minutes
  • Chant 3 times Om

You can add a silent meditation to your practice: sit in meditation focusing on your breath: inhale on 4 counts, exhale on 4 counts) = 5-12 minutes > set a timer.

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Author: Ambika Yoga

Ambika Yoga is about the 5 points of yoga: proper exercise, proper breathing, relaxation, proper diet, positive thinking & meditation. Want to feel energized with a healthy body & mind? Come and join the classes !

5 thoughts on “Starting a home yoga practice

  1. hi Ambika, anuloma-viloma with 4 times longer retention than inhalation is pretty advanced technique. what do you think on effect of nadi shodana? it’s very base, safe breathing technique and has a very deep impact on cleansing of nadis according to traditional texts for ex. shiva sanhita II-26. less is sometimes better than much…

    • Dear Peter, in the Sivananda TTC this is the breathing exercise we are taught, I teach this is my classes too and my students are practicing it mostly without problems. Also, for the home practice, I don’t encourage it unless students have been coming to classes with experienced teachers for a while, they need to understand and know the breathing techniques and asanas thoroughly before practicing on their own.
      If in the beginning it’s too intense, you can start with 3-12-6 also. The ratio should always be 1-4-2. I don’t practice nadi shodana, so can’t really answer your question, but if it’s working for you, I would definitely stick to it. It doesn’t hurt to try anuloma viloma however, maybe begin with a lower count & only 5 rounds.
      Enjoy your yoga practice.
      Om Shanti, Ambika

      • Thanks Ambika, Sivananda is symbol of hard core yoga for me 🙂 but I have at least 5 books written by him and his students. Deep tradition. I appreciate it. Om Shanti

  2. Dear Peter, hardcore isn’t the word I associate with Swami Sivananda, but I’m glad you find him inspirational. He was a true master and teacher. Wishing you lots of happiness and bliss on your yoga journey. Om Shanti, Ambika

  3. Pingback: Practicing yoga while on holidays | Ambika Yoga

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