Yoga Self Practice

A little over three years ago I posted a blog about how I had recently started
a Yoga Self practice. Here’s what has since changed….

I can’t believe how much has changed, shifted and developed in the last three years. Both in my professional and personal life. Which I see directly reflected in my Yoga self practice.

Initially my Yoga self practice was all about Vinyasa sequencing. Strong longs holds for arm balances, loads of sun salutations and in hindsight, very little awareness to my breathing.

Too be honest: Yoga self practice is pretty much the only Yoga time I have. Some days it might only be a Yoga Nidra. 5 Yin or Restoratives asanas. Perhaps daily chanting combined with prananyama. Varying from as little as 15min, to on a good day 60min.

It has become a softer, kinder practice. A wholesome experience of tuning into my body’s immediate needs. Relieving niggling aches and pains. Energising me for the day ahead or winding me down before sleep.

When you talk amongst Yoga teachers, finding time for your Yoga self practice or simply getting to a Yoga class is one of the greatest challenges we face.

Part of my excitement in attending the recent Elysia Yoga convention  in Amorgos was an opportunity to attend Yoga classes and workshops, EVERYDAY.

Not only was I on a geo magnetic island in the middle of the Aegean sea. I was going to spend a week being the student, not the teacher. An opportunity I have never had the pleasure of experiencing. No Yoga self practice, but instead lots of different Yoga classes and styles to attend each day.

Did I mention I was looking out over the Aegean sea while doing Yoga classes every day?

One of the many panoramic views from the Aegialis Hotel and Spa, Amorous

One of the many panoramic views from the Aegialis Hotel and Spa, Amorgos


What I quickly came to realise as I attended the daily classes, is that nobody knows this body of mine better than me. For teachers, I think we need to constantly remind ourselves that every student is different. Our most important role should be encouraging them to ‘tune in’ more. Rather than becoming dogmatic in our teaching styles or philosophies.

If students are simply attending classes and ‘logging out’ we limit their personal and physical growth.

Our role should be one of guidance, nurturing and encouragement. Not only in the classes they attend, but for them to also engage in a form of regular Yoga self practice. 

Attending different styles with the added exposure of teachers who have trained and taught all over the world was such a tremendous learning opportunity. It made me realise that for any teacher to grow it is essential to remove yourself from your comfort zones.

Even more humility is required as a teacher to realise that you will never know everything and in fact, you will never stop being a student yourself.

When I have the time I constantly force myself to try different movement modalities. Not only in Yoga, but in all exercise modalities. I may not enjoy Jivamukti or Arkandha Yoga. Nor does my body like the way it feels moving from a lengthy standing sequence straight into Savasana without a cool down.

But wow!

Every time I learn so much from different teachers, regardless of the style, their nationality, age or gender.

Once again a huge thank-you to the organisers, teachers and presenters at the Elysia Yoga convention.

The learning then feeds into my own teaching style and methodology. It also brings so much more to my Yoga self practice. The week of the Elysia Yoga convention highlighted the comfort zones in my Yoga self practice. It highlighted potential imbalances and areas I am currently stronger or more flexible than I realised.

For example I did an intro to Ashtanga class while at the Elysia Yoga convention. I can’t remember the last time I did a pure Ashtanga class, but there I was, rocking out Janu Sirsana (Head to toe) variations and binds that three years ago were near impossible for my body.

The real bonus was it reaffirmed my ever growing natural intuition. I am really beginning to understand progressions and modifications. I am developing a sense of teaching ‘full circle.’ Really respecting the individuality of each unique body.

Without my own Yoga self practice, I don’t think the experiential learning from other teachers styles would be as effective.

Where am I going with all this?

Students and teachers alike, I want to encourage you to cultivate your sense of learning both in your regular Yoga classes but even more in your Yoga self practice.

Below are some tips to help you get started with a regular Yoga self practice

1. Where to start

  • Find a place in your home that can become your regular spot to enjoy your Yoga self practice.
  • Make sure it is as clutter free as possible.
  • You need very little space, just enough to roll out your mat.

2. Stop with the excuses and quite simply get on your mat.

  • Yoga self practice can be anything from 15min onwards.
  • Once you remove over committing yourself from a time management perspective, you really don’t have any excuses left.

3. Your body will remember

  • Most people are initially apprehensive that they won’t know what to do. They want to follow a Youtube clip or sequence list. There is nothing wrong with starting out this way, but I can guarantee the more that you ‘tune in’ the more you will be amazed by just how much your body remembers.

4. Start to apply a little bit more awareness in your regular class attendance

  • During your regular classes, start to build your awareness to the sequencing, warm-up, cool-down and most of all the asanas you really enjoy.
  • Its the asanas your body really enjoys that will get you back to your mat for self practice.

5. Suyra Namaskar (Sun Salutations)

  • The reason I repeat the sun salutations in every class as part of the warm up is so that you can remember this as a base combination to layer your sequences.
  • Even if all you do for 10-15min is repeat your Suyra Namaskar, you are on your way to building your Yoga Self Practice.

My suggestion….

Over the next few weeks I will be posting some entry level sequences for you to build a foundation for your Yoga self practice. 

This week see if you can follow the steps above to get started with your Yoga self practice :

  1. Find a designated area in your home or garden for self practice
  2. Start with 10-15min, don’t fixate on the time: just get on your mat!
  3. Experiment with movement patterns your body remembers.
  4. Pay attention in class! Select your 3 most favourite asanas.
  5. Include your Suyra Namaskar

Most of all have fun with your Yoga Self Practice 

Keep checking my website for more Blog posts about developing your regular Yoga self Practice

Upward facing dog from the Aegialis Hotel & Spa, Amorgos

Upward facing dog from the Aegialis Hotel & Spa, Amorgos