I used to think “Home Practice” meant moving my laptop over to the yoga area and setting Rodney Yee loose. Although not quite my introduction to asana practice (Community College), it served me well through the years and the moves. Oh, I knew that I should eventually get to the place where I didn’t need it, but I wasn’t sure when that would happen and all my past attempts were lackadaisical. Practicing to Rodney Yee or Tara Stiles or whoever is certainly good, much better than nothing, but practicing without such props allows the space for all sorts of depth that constant glancing up and listening to cues just simply opposes.
Lately, however, I’ve started to discover my own practice.
The most difficult part was getting started. Do I sit around beforehand and design a sequence? Desikachar’s chapter on sequencing is a good primer. One could get lost for years exploring Yoga Sequencing by Mark Stephens. But ultimately, I haven’t went into that all much, yet. Should I have someone else design one for me?
At first, I let Yee get me started and then I’d branch off and just start doing my own thing. The nice thing about that was that a lot of the cues he would be prattling off applied to whatever I was doing even if it was a totally different outward form. I could tune in and out at my own pace. I mean, when shouldn’t you tuck the tailbone? When shouldn’t you lengthen the spine? When shouldn’t you move to your breath? Typically it’s obvious, if at all true.
Then, I started doing Surya Namaskara A’s in silence and adding in whatever feels right next while trying to keep in mind some basics about counterposing.
Probably the most prominent change this has brought about is that I’ve begun becoming my own motivator, my own spark. The thing about class or videos is that someone is there pushing you on. There is a sequence and each asana has a length of time to get into and hold and it’s almost always challenging. When I used to try to taylor a solo session I would frankly peter out, my motivation bobbing with my hopelessly distractable mind and challenge would unappear. Although I’m very self-motivated in other arenas of my life, I’d not quite made the leap to my home yoga practice at that level.
Then, I started to add in Virabhadrasana 3s while making sure to raise that back leg up level with the torso, and then to hold it there for a couple of steady breaths, all without an outside motive force. Et cetera.