Your Home Yoga Practice

Think of your home yoga practice as basic self-care.

Self-care is taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally.

As well as attending to the body, mind, and emotions, regular yoga practice creates a container for developing interoception – your ability to hear your body’s signals, messages and intuitions.

Remember that yoga means the union of the body, mind and spirt.

A daily practice can take as little as 10 minutes!

In general, a daily yoga practice can consist of three elements:

  1. Physical movement – it can be a simple as decompressing the spine and moving the major joints through their range of motion
  2. A breathing practice – think of the breath as the link between body and mind
  3. Meditation – this helps cultivate healthy mind states and minimizes negative thought habits

Below are a few suggestions for each category.

Physical Movement

Decompress your Spine:

Add range-of-motion movement to the major joints:

  • Shoulder rolls, elbow circles and rolling wrists
  • Standing hip circles and ankle circles
  • Side bending (either sitting or standing)

From here, you can add any favorite poses you feel comfortable with.

Breathing Practices

Below are two relatively simple yogic breathing techniques. Choose one and do it for 1-2 minutes. Never strain when working with your breath. Always keep it easy and comfortable.

Meditation

Developing awareness is key to cultivating a steady mind and overriding the stress response. Meditation is the main tool for developing that awareness. Below are 3 simple meditation techniques.

  • Breath counting
  • Mantra: use any two words, like Peace and Joy. Silently say one word on the inhalation and the other on the exhalation. Don’t change the rhythm of your breath.
  • Breath-centered meditation (focus on the sensations of breathing)

Let me know how it goes! Ask me questions. Share your wins!

Photo by Scott Broome on Unsplash

Why Keep Moving?

Movement keeps you alive. Movement stimulates the circulation of blood which carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell in your body. Without that delivery system, your cells and tissues become stagnant and they begin to operate less efficiently. 

Your lymphatic system, which removes cellular waste, dead blood cells and pathogens, relies completely on movement.  It’s your internal cleaning service! But lymphatic fluid doesn’t have its own pump like the heart, which pumps blood. Instead it relies on your movement and muscle activity to circulate. As the fluid passes through lymph nodes, the nodes filter out pathogens such as cancer cells. The cleansed lymph then flows upward in your body, toward your neck, where it enters the bloodstream. 

In my yoga classes for cancer patients, the kind of movement I emphasize focuses on circulation, instead of movement for strength building. It’s that circulation that moves lymphatic fluids, blood, oxygen and nutrients through your body. Some strength building may be appropriate depending on your condition, but circulation becomes even more important if you become debilitated and/or bedridden. Then even small movements of the arms will stimulate circulation and help move your lymphatic fluid. Flex and point the feet, roll the wrists, wiggle the fingers, shrug the shoulders. Any movement will do! 

“I move, therefore I am.”
― Haruki Murakami1Q84