The best way to start a regular yoga practice is to simply unroll your yoga mat and get on it. Now you’ve gone to the trouble of unrolling the thing, you might as well do something on it! Maybe you’ll just stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and do some stretches; sit in Easy Pose (Sukhasana) and do some So/Ham breathing or play dead in Corpse Pose (Savasana) and relax. It’s all yoga and you are guaranteed to feel better, brighter and clearer afterwards. However, to get the full benefit out of the system of Hatha Yoga and to give the body the complete workout it needs, a systematic practice is required. Also the whole aim of Hatha Yoga is to develop discipline which can eventually be chanelled into the higher practices of yoga. So developing a regular systemised yoga practice is the No.1 priority of yoga students.  The following schedule is the one I have been using myself for donkeys years, simply because it works. It is loosely adapted from Dona Holleman’s Yoga Syllabus for teacher and student. It is suitable for all of you who have been practicing yoga regularly for over 1 year.

Try, try try to practice some yoga every day even though it is so difficult to get time 7 days a week. If you can’t do something everyday, don’t skip a day of the program. Just do the poses today that you missed the day before. This is really important because this program is a balanced process i.e every day you do the opposite to what you did the day before. In this way your yoga practice will become wholistic, and you in turn will train yourself to be a wholistic being. You gotta do it reguarly though….! You don’t have to do all the positions. Just do as many as you the time and energy for. Practice each pose that you choose x2 or x3 times and hold for 6 breaths. The program works like this:

Monday: Stand

Tuesday: Sit

Wednesday: Bend Forward

Thursday: Bend Back

Friday: Balance on the Hands

Saturday: Balance on the Head and Shoulders

Sunday: R ‘n R Day!

Monday (Stand) ~ Start with Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and do some breathing followed by warm ups. Then choose from a selection of the following: Tree Pose; Eagle Pose; Horseman’s Pose; Squatting Pose; Triangle Pose; Warrior Poses I and II; Parsvakonasana; Ardha Chandrasana (against wall); Half-Dog Pose; Parsvottanasana; Prasarita Padottansana; Standing Spinal Twist; Padangusthasana. N.B. Rest in Hangover Pose after each position for at least 30 seconds. Finish with Legs up the Wall and Relaxation (Savasana) for 10 minutes.

Tuesday (Sit) ~Start with Supta Padangusthasana  followed by warm ups. Then choose from a selection of the following: Easy Pose; Sage Pose; Butterfly Pose; Upavishta Konasana; Head of a Cow Pose; Child Pose; Kneeling Pose; Arm Stretches in Kneeling Pose; Half-Lotus Pose. Finish with Child Pose and Relaxation (Savasana) for 10 minutes.

Wednesday (Bend Forward) ~Start with some breathing in semi-supine position followed by warm ups. Then choose from a selection of the following: Boat Poses; Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana); Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana); Upavishta Konasasna holding the toes. Follow with a Twist like Twisting in Easy Pose or Marichyasana I. Rest in Child Pose and finish in Relaxation Pose (Savasana) for 10 minutes.

Thursday (Bend Back) ~ Start with some breathing in Fish Pose followed by warm ups. Then choose from a selection of the following: Bridge Pose; Locust Pose; Cobra Pose; Bow Pose; Camel Pose. Afterwards go forwards and practice a few Dog Poses (Upward & Downward). Rest in Child Pose and then Legs up the Wall. Finish in Relaxation Pose (Savasana)for 10 minutes.

Friday (Balance on the Hands) ~ Start with some breathing (e.g. Clock along the Floor) followed by warm ups and Anantasana.Practice Dog Pose Sequence x12; If you have time and you are able for them, also practice Vasisthasana I and Handstand (against wall). Rest in Legs up the Wall Pose and finish in Relaxation Pose (Savasana)for 10 minutes.

Saturday (Balance on the Head and Shoulders) ~ Start with some breathing in semi-supine position followed by warm ups. Next, practice Rabbit Pose to release the neck. Follow with Headstand, Plough Pose and Shoulderstand. Start off with very short timings of 30 seconds for each pose building up to 5 minutes after a few weeks. Rest with legs up the wall and finish in Relaxation Pose (Savasana) for 10 minutes.

Sunday~ Relax in Relaxation Pose (Savasana) for 10 minutes.

CAUTION: DO NOT practice inverted positions during menstruation or if you suffer from High Blood Pressure, heart problems, eye problems like glaucoma or detached retina or if you have neck problems. DO NOT practice inversions if you are pregnant unless you had been doing them regularly before the pregnancy.

~ Proceed slowly and carefully when practicing all the poses. Work with the breath always. Listen to the body. Remember the traffic lights rule; If you get a green light, keep going; if you get an orange light, proceed with caution; if you get a red light, STOP! 

~If you have any problems, doubts, questions about any of the above, ask your yoga teacher. That’s what we’re there for!

~ Check my earlier post Tips on practicing Yoga at home for more information.

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