The Hardest Pose

The Hardest Pose

The Hardest Pose

On one of Jawahar’s visits to Canada, he said, if one says they are practicing yoga, then that indicates all of the aspects; the eight limbs of yoga. The first two limbs of yoga, yama and niyama, are to do with ethics and moral principles. Non-harming, truth, contentment, zeal in practice are some of these principles.

For asana practice, you first need the desire to practice, the fire, and the will power. Getting out the mat is the hardest pose.

You might think, “I don’t have any props, so I can’t practice.” You don’t need a lot of props to begin. Look at what is around your home. There is a door frame, the kitchen counter, a window ledge, ordinary chairs, and pillows. With those pillows lie down and do some simple breathing to start pranayama.

What to practice?

Remember how the flow of poses progress in class. How did you feel after class? As Shirley Daventry French likes to say, “Every practice should be restorative.” There are sequences on-line and a few on our website, including one for the immune system Guruji gave to us.

One of the hallmarks of our method is inversions. If you know nothing else, just lie down at a wall with the legs elevated. In every sequence add the inversions (unless you have not been taught how to do them, or have physical reasons not to do them that day). End your practice with a sarvangasana type pose (shoulder stand). It is important to follow the idea of stimulating poses at the beginning, quiet poses at the end. You should not jump right from full arm balance to breakfast.

When to practice?

Try and find a consistent time, that is before meal time! Can you get up earlier and find a few minutes before the bustle of the day begins? Maybe you can practice later in the day. Or try splitting your practice into two shorter sessions in the morning and then evening.

The body is often dull. Guruji said, “it is a treacherous friend.” There are a million reasons we can come up with to delay our practice: family, work, digital devices, dog, laundry, a text, etc. Those with an established practice, now is an opportunity to explore the many variations of poses. If you find you are restricted in forward bends, try to find a key to unlock that tightness. Start with standing forward bends, and move on to the seated ones. Look at sequences in various Iyengar books.

Be inspired! Study and look at Iyengar’s photos on the web, and in Light on Yoga.

Leslie Hogya