Yoga Home Practice
Start your home practice as soon as possible. Do it right now. Each quarter would be of different themes and lessons, picking up from the previous ones so you are guided to a meaningful and safe progression. I am here to assist and help you. For questions, don’t hesitate to message me.
Our bodies develop the fastest during the first year of the practice. A new sense of vigour and vitality could be felt easily during this stage and it is a good motivating factor to keep going and explore more. The body should be handled firmly but never to be beaten to exhaustion.
Ahimsa, the yoga philosophy of non-harming needs to start with us before to anyone else. This principle when applied to our practice, means not harming ourselves but also trying our very best to rise above our limitations by progressive and introspective practice.
Physical discomforts and sometimes pain are a part of the process. A beginner’s soreness is perfectly okay. But never should it inflict long-term or permanent harm. They are temporary discomforts which are meant to make us stronger and resilient.
Keep it Simple and Achievable
The beginning stages would be the most challenging. We need to look after our wellbeing the more in this stage; physically, mentally and emotionally. The physical needs to be strong and well-taken care of which includes proper nutrition and recovery. I recommend a daily practice. This would be helpful in levelling off the soreness from the practice. It does not always have to be long hours but makes sure a certain deep element is tackled in every session.
My advice is to keep a realistic schedule. Consider the availability of time and other resources. What you need is sustainability, otherwise, all the initial efforts shall go down the drain.
- Adhere to a short practice. A three times per week 30-minute routine is effective in building consistency and discipline.
- Do the same routine consistently until the elements become so ingrained that the breath flows itself without thinking it. It takes about 8 weeks for the body to fully adapt to a certain programme. Be patient and do not rush.
- Keep it simple and let the method grow in you. There are thousands of different yoga asanas and limitless ways to flow through them. What’s the use of knowing each and every move if the breath is confused and the mind is restless? Do not look outside, all you need is on you and in you.
Do Not Feel Lacking - Keep It Going
There will be many times of self-doubt. Oftentimes, we would feel that what we have in our hands are not enough. Never feel lacking if all the rest find the knowledge outside.
When I was starting, my material resources were just enough for me to get by and some days lacking. All I have in me is energy. I held on in the method I have chosen to tackle. I practise it every day and have given it space and time to grow inside me until it becomes part of my whole being.
Here is a collection of lessons and classes you could study and practice with at home. Consisting of simple yet challenging elements, they are designed to strengthen the physical body, develop mobility and basic flexibility, as well as train the nervous system of the breath patterns required for specific neuro-muscular actions.
Have a safe and meaningful home practice to you!
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Quarters One and Two: January - June 2021
Theme: Fundamentals for Developing the Bandhas (Energy Locks)
- Asana and Flow for Developing Inner Core Strength
- Spinal Flexion, Twists and Arm Balances
- Kapalbhati Pranayama and Kriya
- General Principles and Benefits of Kumbhaka
What are Bandhas?
One of the most potent side effects of Hatha Yoga is the activation of the bandhas. Progress in Hatha Yoga is increased exponentially with the mastery of the bandhas. Once the bandhas happen, the human teacher becomes just a consultant to the student. Bandhas will continue guiding the student as they explore deeply in his practice.
Bandhas have the potential to unlock the final barriers of spiritual awakening. Each bandha is associated with the granthis – mulabandha to Brahma granthi; uddiyana bandha to Vishnu granthi; jalandhara bandha to Rudra granthi. As they develop, the granthis open steadily too. Attaining Samadhi (enlightenment) is more meaningful through the bandhas.
Bandha means ‘seal’. The three primary bandhas are mulabandha, uddiyana bandha and jalandhara banda. Subtle ones also exist. From the peripheries, bandhas magnetise the energy to the midline. The centre of the body is the hips. From the hips, the kundalini shall rise through the Sushumna nadi, irrigating and activating the higher centres of the body and the brain. The kundalini energy is vital in Hatha Yoga. Bandhas awaken the kundalini. Through them, we can start the process of bringing the opposing poles of energy together. Bandhas bind the ha and the tha energies in the Muladhara chakra in the hips – resulting in an energetic explosion. The kundalini wakes from her deep sleep.
Kundalini is God’s infinite energy upon the conception of life. The subtle life force in inactive and inert. The kundalini is its active and dynamic counterpart. It draws the prana into the body, allowing cells to multiply and organs to grow. Without the kundalini, there is no creation, and therefore, no life.
Meditative Significance of the Bandhas
Bandhas control the amount of energy flowing in and out of the body. They constrict the pathways when the body needs less energy and open them when we need more. Bandhas reinforce the ideal alignment of the spine so the energy can freely flow. In this regard, they act as internal support during asana, pranayama, kumbhaka and mudra.
Although commonly associated with muscular and gland activation, bandhas are not purely physical movement. The physical techniques associated with them are preparatory steps only for developing the proper attitude for energy activation. A programme requires proper physical alignment, strength, mobility and flexibility, internal cleansing, a healthy lifestyle and a correct mindset.
Bandhas harmonise the body, mind and spirit. We become more energetically sensitive and utilise this newfound awareness in harnessing and unifying the various energies – firstly for cleansing and balancing the nadis until the Sushumna opens up. Secondly, for ascending the unified force to the meditative centres in the brain. Finally, for attaining stillness and steadiness during meditation.
There are people whose inherent energy flow is inwards already. For them, the bandhas may not be as necessary at all. These gifted individuals are natural healers. Nevertheless, I still encourage everyone to develop energy anatomy as its benefits to our health and wellness is something we could appreciate through the rest of our lives.
Programme One: 8 Weeks
Guided Practice Mobility and Strength
Do this sequence three to four times per week. The elements here are simple but effective for building coordination, dynamism and mobility. This flow suits well the activation of the dormant channels of the hips and core. They are the foundation of the energy anatomy.
Intermediate Flow for Developing the Bandhas
The Ardha Matsyendrasana and Kurmasana
Before Doing the Flow: Practise kapalbhati pranayama seated for three minutes. Do as many as you can lightly connect. Take short breaks in between rounds.
After the Flow: Do kapalbhati pranayama for three minutes, This time try your best to sustain it in one round. It’s doable if you do it properly.
Here’s an in-depth lesson for the kapalbhati pranayama
Quarter Four: October - December 2020
Theme: Developing Focus | Preparing for Meditation
- Asana themed Pre-Meditation Practice
- The Nada: Amplifying the Inner Brain Frequency
- Techniques for Clearing and Sharpen the Mind
Pre-Meditation Asana Practice
By moving the spine in various directions, we prolong the elasticity and healthy flow of nutrients through the spinal disks. Here’s a couple of classes you can practice at home. They are short ones yet complete of essential components. The elements are the same with options to advanced the poses. You may alternate the classes for variety.
Quarter Three: July - September 2020
Theme: The Healing Power of the Breath
- Simple Flows combining asana and basic pranayama.
- Lectures and Online Study on the Principles and Benefits of Energy-Channelling
- Fundamentals Techniques for Meditation
The way we breathe defines the state of our physical health. By safely learning how to change and control its patterns, we could maximise our potentials for gains, physically, mentally and energetically.
Together with a holistic approach to managing our health and wellness, the practices of pranayama, mantra, and stress-releasing asanas are the secrets physical longevity.
Later on, as the rest of our energetic system develops, we could utilise the breath (prana), to safely cleanse and purify our cell-deep energetic channels (nadis). In turn, this leads to an abundant flow of energy through our system for self-healing and helping others.
It all starts with understanding the natural breath. Thus, for our first lesson this quarter, I want to share with you a technique which is so simple but powerful in fine-tuning our awareness and heightening our sensitivties. The ‘Sa’ ‘Ha’ Pranayama when practice regularly, has the power not just to heal but transform the circuitry of our nervous system
Breath Awareness: The Sa Ha Pranayama
Class Application: Breath Awareness and Simple Flow
This simple flow integrates breath awareness with simple yet effective asanas for building strength and flexibility. Do this class at least three times per week. You will be pleasantly surprised by how your nervous system absorbs the energetic principles embedded in this lesson.
Repetition is one of the essential requirements of energy-channelling. It is not about the complexity of the asana or the level of difficulty. Keep doing this class until the elements become so light on the body. Only then that the breath shall organically flow – when principles get ingrained and the mind stops thinking anymore.
Quarter Two: April to June 2020
- Keep the body active and healthy in these trying times through easy-to-follow yoga classes.
- Ensure mental health and spiritual well-being through meditation and relaxation.
- All lessons are written to help those in the yoga community make use of the limited resources of time and space through distance learning.
Home Practice cannot get more invaluable than today. Take a moment daily to look after your health and well-being. Stay safe everyone.
Sitting Asanas are helpful in opening the hips and there are quite meditative. Seemed easy to accomplish but sitting postures are one of the most challenging to sustain, especially for long durations of time during meditation. I have here two lessons about sitting postures, one is the workshop where I give an in-depth discussion on the physical alignment and energetic principles of sitting asanas. The other one is the class application where we will flow through them, lightly energising the body, just enough for the nerves system to awaken. Enjoy!
New Class - 20 May 2020 - Application Sitting Asanas for Meditation
Full Workshop - Sitting Asanas for Meditation
Class - Yoga for Better Digestion
A daily practice is recommended. It is important to evaluate all other factors (work, family, school, etc) which might affect your schedule. An early morning practice is ideal for many reasons including:
- The mind is fresh and ready to absorb fresh sensations, and if we put yoga first before all the other experiences, it is easier to focus and accomplish things after. We become more productive.
- Our bodies are the highest in the morning so we could easily more with openness and ease.
- The asana and pranayama we do in yoga essentially massage and stimulate the inner organs, thus, promoting our inner health.
Consistency means sticking to your routine with a bit of variation here and there to break the monotony. A simple yet complete programme is the fastest way to build structural strength.
Likewise, you are likely to keep the practice going as regular routine is easier to manage and more time efficient. Keep the programme until all poses in the routine feel light, open and comfortable doing. Keep a journal of your experiences and observations.
Here’s an easy-to-follow yoga class you can practice with every morning. I will add more simple sequences of varying themes so you can do them alternatingly. Enjoy!
Meditation 25 April 2020: The Bhramari Pranayama
‘By filling the air with force, making noise like Bhringi (wasp), and expelling it slowly, making noise in the same way; this practice causes a sort of ecstasy in the minds of Yogindras.
Haṭha Yoga Pradipika, 68
Bhramari comes from a Sanskrit word bhramara meaning ‘bumblebee’ due to the humming breath sound like the drone of a male bee. By meditating on this sound, we amplify the frequency of the inner brain which increases our ability to focus and concentrate. The Bhramari Pranayama increases the Alpha and Theta brainwaves (even the Delta) which helps us deeply relax, restore and rejuvenate.
Bhramari Pranayama has an immediate calming effect to the nervous system. It stimulates the Vishuddhi and the Talu Chakras. These chakras promote the health of our throat, neck, vpice box and the organs of the head. The Bhramari Pranayama promotes better sleep and provides mental clarity.
Class: Kriyas and Restorative
Energy stagnation is one of the most common causes of body aches and illnesses. Inactivity or too much physical exertion (yes, too much exercise could hurt), incorrect posture, as well as mental fatigue, strain our vital inner systems. Other unhealthy factors such as poor diet and lack of sleep, home and work-related stress and hidden emotional struggles end up clogging our deep energetic channels (nadis).
In this free-flowing sequence, let us do unconventional stretches for the upper back and the hips, the shoulders and the knees using our body weight to deeply open as well as untangle the heavy knots clogging our joints. Then, we will practise the Kapalbhati Kriya to irrigate and purify the nasal cavity. All of these shall lead to a more open inner body, light and free-flowing breath and a relaxed mind.
Class - Hip Openers and Spine Mobility
This class is short yet full of essential components for promoting the flexibility and mobility of the spine and the hips, the two main energetic channels of the body. All you need is a small bedside space. Keep it going.
Meditation Practice:: The So Hum Meditation
The Mantra So (I am) Hum (That) is both an energetic and spiritual practice. It represents the inherent nature of our breath. The gaseous oxygen as we inspire it produces the light frequency and sound of the “Saa…”. The out-breath is the low and humming frequency of the “Haaa”. As we say it, the beginning (the rounding of the mouth) and the end (closing of our lips) of each vibrational elements blend inside our bodies where they become one as So Hum.
Spiritually, So Hum is our divine character. Within us lies the spirit of God. We are God’s physical form, in the flesh, breathing, moving, thinking and feeling. By meditating upon this beautiful meaning, we realise and manifest God’s presence in our lives, through our thoughts, words and actions.
Meditation: Breath Awareness Practice
You need time for yourself so you can look after others – your family and loved ones. Managing your health and well-being requires us to make sure our breath flows to nourish our nervous system. Here’s a lesson for developing breath awareness.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama for Stress-Relief
The Nadi Shodhana is one of the most powerful pranayama in yoga. It is a beautiful practice to help stabilise heartbeat and alleviate anxiety and stress. This pranayama is both calming and quieting so it fits well during cooling down before Savasana.
Kapalbhati Pranayama for Increasing Energy Flow
Kapalbhati Pranayama invigorates the entire brain and awakens the dormant centres which are responsible for refining awareness. It is a cleansing practice too (Kriya). Due to its very energising and warming effect, it is sometimes called ‘breath of fire’. Kapalbhati breath is a quick and continuous breath, the rhythm is strong and confident.
Purification Techniques for Disease-Prevention
These powerful practices for energy-channelling and healing, if done consistently, could help us keep our bodies disease-free, our mental balance in check and our spirits happy.
Healing Session - Nadi Shodhana and Prana Mudra
Take a moment from your busy and stressful day. Practise along in this restoring and calming lesson. We all can do our share of healing others without being out there. Our energies travel where it’s needed the most.
Quarter One: January to March 2020
Programme One: Foundation and Strength
Week One to Week Eight
For your foundation course, Here are two classes may alternate during your eight-week programme.
Week Nine to Week 16
At this stage, you should be able to feel much lighter and stronger than ever before. Consisting of elements of arm balances, basic backbends, active hip-openers and basic inversions, the following classes are designed to cultivate your inner core support, cardio-respiratory strength and refine your breath awareness. Included here is a full workshop on the Bakasana to help you crack through this challenging arm balance. Good luck.
Individual Classes | Culminating Practice
Once you have completed the eight-week programme, you may break the cycle by doing the following classes. The elements here are the application of the lessons learnt so far. Feel the flows organically manifest in your practice.