Here are some notes from a typical beginner’s gentle hatha yoga class. We emphasized breathing right quite a bit. During a practice session, make sure
· You can hear your breathing. This can be accomplished by slightly pushing the chin into the base of the throat. This technique of breathing is called Ujjayi.
· The breath is complete, following the Yogic breathing. Yogic breathing uses the chest cavity to the maximum possible, with the diaphragm, mid-chest cavity and the top of the lungs participating (in that order) during inhalation and the reverse during exhalation.
· The mind stays focused on the above two and there is no attachments to any thoughts that come by. If the mind wanders, don’t blame yourself but knowing it is the nature of the mind, ask it to focus on the above two.
We practiced postures, starting with some gentle stretching. Some of the ones you can incorporate in a short routine are below:
· Yoga mudra: holding a wrist with the opposite hand and bending towards the opposite knee. Repeat on the other side and then bending towards the front-centre.
· Child’s posture. Kneeling and bending forward, resting the forehead on the mat to the front.
· Supine bound angle posture: Lying on the back, bringing both the feet onto the mat, legs bent at the knees and dropping each leg/knee to its own side.
In all the above, emphasize deep/yogic breathing, enjoying each and every moment of it.
We ended the class with relaxation. Lying on the back, with the arms and legs to the side, we focused on different parts of the body identifying any tension that part could be holding and consciously trying to relax the part. Whether you can find time to practice above or not, you should practice about 5-10 minutes of breathing before going to bed, breathing completely and using Ujjayi, letting the mind to just observe.
Yoga Rx was the book I mentioned. I have seen it at the Wissahickon library.. You can check it out at Amazon – Yoga Rx
In the upcoming classes we will learn more breathing and pranayama techniques. Let Yoga help you the way it helped me.
[From an Oct 2005 email I sent to students]