This week local yoga teacher, Jackie Haigh, shares her thoughts on starting your personal yoga routine from the comfort of your own home – and tells you all about her Thirty Day Sun Salutation Challenge which could be just what you need to get going.
Recent reports by the British Heart Foundation suggest that over 20 million people in Britain are “physically inactive”. If you are one of them or just feel like a positive change maybe this could be a good time to start your own personal yoga practice? As well as bringing physical benefits, yoga is instrumental to psychological and emotional healing.
As a yoga lover and teacher, I wake each morning to practice the full or modified Ashtanga Primary series,which takes a minimum of 30 minutes. I literally roll out of bed to where my mat is ready and waiting, put some music on and start my practice in my PJ’s. Maybe this isn’t your cup of tea but if you’re keen to start your own yoga practice the new 30 Day Sun Salutation Challenge from The Little Yoga Studio London might be the way forward. This can be done from the comfort of your own home – all you need is a yoga mat!
I recently read an article that said, “the difference between 2 minutes of yoga a day and 2 hours of yoga a day is very little. The difference between zero minutes of yoga a day and 2 minutes is huge.” We’re hoping that if you take up the challenge you will start a daily yoga practice for at least 30 days and, as you start to enjoy and notice the benefits for both body and mind, that you may continue a regular – if not daily – practice which will last you a lifetime.
The challenge is to set 10 minutes aside each day and practice 10 Sun Salutations (5 x Sun Salutation A & 5 x Sun Salutation B – please see the video clips below) followed by a short diary entry about what you experienced both mentally and physically during your practice. It’s a chance to turn inward, to be mindfully present and to reflect EVERY DAY!
Why Sun Salutations?
I’ve chosen Sun Salutations for the challenge as they are an excellent way to begin a yoga practice. Modifications to poses can be made, making it an easy way for even beginners to start their practice. They are also an amazing way to warm up the entire body, soften the muscles and stimulate the neurological and circulatory system. The dynamic, repetitive and deep stretching used during the practice of Sun Salutations, particularly in the morning, “resets” the resting muscle length for the day.
Click on any of the four images below to watch demonstration videos of Sun Salution A and Sun Salutation ~ I have included modifications of both for beginners.
Find somewhere peaceful and have your yoga mat and diary ready and waiting. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Try to do it at the same time and in the same place every day.
At the beginning of each practice spend a few moments breathing quietly and setting your intention to stay present throughout your practice. A good way to do this is by focussing on the breath.
Start the timer and practice 5 x Sun Salutation A, followed by 5 x Sun Salutation B. Once you’ve finished write a short diary entry about what you experienced during your practice. Your thoughts, and how it made you feel both mentally and physically. If you’re struggling just write the date. Finally, express gratitude for having made the time and taken the opportunity to practice.
N.B. I also recommend drinking 2 large glasses of warm water before you start the practice followed by warm water with half a lemon afterwards.
Some days will be harder than others to practice but try your best to do it anyway, even if it just involves a couple of minutes of turning inward and being mindfully present.
At the end of the 30 day challenge take a look at your diary. What we tend to find is that through this practice of writing down our thoughts of our yoga experience we realise how negative and critical we often are towards ourselves. This realisation can help us become more positive and remember that we need to protect our self esteem and battle negative thinking as soon as we notice it. This allows us to heal psychological wounds and help build emotional resilience in a way that encourages spiritual growth and emotional hygiene.
Here’s hoping this 30 Day Challenge will help you both physically and mentally and make a positive difference in your life!
The Little Yoga Studio London is local and we welcome everybody. We are very happy to help you on your yoga journey and look forward to seeing you at a class soon.
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