When I came home from my first yoga class more than thirty years ago, I was in a place in my mind and body that I had not experienced before. I remember that feeling today. It was a Kundalini class. I had no knowledge before the class of what that was, so I had no expectations. But after class, I felt calmness and a sense of being able to look at my present circumstances from a place outside of the experience.
Now, after 30 years of practice, I know I can tap into that whenever I want.
Looking back I realize I was at a very surface level, nonetheless it was meaningful to me.
Yoga has a history several thousand years old, so the depths cannot be reached quickly or easily. Going to class once or twice a week can barely touch the surface, even after several years.
A daily practice is necessary for several reasons. The first is to develop the discipline that says no matter what, I’m going to practice today. The best way to do this is to set aside a certain period of time at the same time every day. In the same way you brush your teeth daily, it’s programmed in to your routine. It’s best to start with a short do-able time, say ½ an hour. It’s hard to deny that there is not a ½ hour in your day to set aside.
The other problem is finding a dedicated space. I’ve heard this complaint so often. All you need is a space big enough for your mat and wall space behind it. Of course, the more inviting the space the more you will be attracted to practicing there, so it might be worthwhile to clear a small corner and keep it clutter free. If you are one who likes ritual, you can add a small altar with a statue, a flower, incense stick, etc.
Now that you’ve set the time and the space, what to practice? My suggestion is to start with what you remember of last week’s class. You won’t remember the whole class but I find when I start with one pose from the class it triggers my memory to others. Another suggestion is to pick one pose from class that you really liked, and one you didn’t. Generally, we like poses we do easily and dislike the ones that are challenging. You might then see if you can find a link between these poses or other poses that might help prepare your muscles for the chosen pose.
Of course there are many videos out there but I don’t recommend that way of practice because you need time and space to explore how each pose works for you. In class your teacher sets the tone and rhythm, and at home you can set the pace.
Once you get on your mat and begin, you will find you can tap into that feeling you get after class and you will have learned something about your self and the poses you have chosen to practice.