Internationally renowned yoga instructor Rodney Yee is the instructor of more than 26 best-selling yoga videos. In Moving toward Balance, he outlines an eight-week program of yoga postures, meditation, and breath awareness designed to lead us toward the emotional and physical balance we all crave in life. Each week introduces a new category of poses--forward bends, twists, backbends, inversions shown with variations to accommodate different levels of strength and flexibility. Along with the instruction, the text explains the significance of each pose and how it contributes on physiological and psychological levels to a complete sense of balance.
At the core of Moving toward Balance is its emphasis on a home practice, enabling you to focus on what works best for your own body. Suitable for yoga students of any level, each lesson is illustrated with full-color photography and is laid out in sequential order, so there is no need to flip back and forth to follow along. There are also chapters on customizing your basic practice to address specific concerns such as lower back pain or PMS, as well as ideas to help keep your newfound practice thriving. Filled with years of Rodney's teaching expertise and more than 300 photographs, Moving toward Balance is the link that you've been searching for between the classroom and the home.
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Rodney Yee is one of America's premier yoga teachers and has been featured in Time, People, and USA Today, and on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He is a co-director of the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, California, where he teaches public classes and trains yoga teachers. In addition, he travels across the country and around the world to destinations such as England, Bali, Australia, and Mexico to conduct workshops and retreats. Rodney is a coauthor of Yoga: The Poetry of the Body.
Nina Zolotow is a writer and a longtime yoga practitioner who studies with Rodney Yee and other yoga teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a coauthor of Yoga: The Poetry of the Body.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Do not kill the instinct of the body for the glory of the pose. Do not look at your body like a stranger, but adopt a friendly approach towards it. Watch it, listen to it, observe its needs, its requests, and even have fun. Play with it as children do, sometimes it becomes very alive and swift.
To be sensitive is to be alive.
Preparing to Practice
Before you start our eight-week program of home yoga practice, there are a few simple things you'll need to do: Find the time and place to practice yoga, assemble your yoga props, and learn about your body and your breath. This chapter provides information about these topics and concludes with some special advice--for those of you who may need it--on how to motivate yourself to practice.
Finding the Time and Place to Practice Yoga
For many people, finding the time to practice yoga at home is the main problem they must solve in order to embark on our eight-week program. Therefore, it is a good idea to sit down now, look over your schedule (if you have one), and figure out where you're going to fit in about 1 hour of yoga practice, six days a week. To manage this, you may need to consider waking up earlier than usual, asking your partner to take charge of the children at specified times, or juggling your work and home commitments around a bit. Once you have decided when to practice, you might even consider marking it on your calendar to establish this practice time as a fixed priority in your life for the next eight weeks.
Most people prefer to practice yoga early in the morning before going off to work or school. The early morning is a beautiful time to practice because the world is calm and peaceful, and there are very few distractions.
Practicing yoga in the morning can also set the tone for your entire day. So if you generally feel better after doing yoga<\m>more centered, calm, or filled with energy--why not allow yourself to begin your day with that orientation?
Finally, many people find that going straight from bed into practice is the only way to ensure that they actually do practice on a given day because they find that if they put off practicing until they get home from work, things get in the way and they never get around to it.
Other Practice Times
On the other hand, some people have things they need to do in the morning (getting to work early, nursing a baby, or getting children off to school, for example). And other people simply find that the morning doesn't work for their particular bodies or personalities. It is worth experimenting to find what works for you, rather than simply doing something because of your preconceived notions of the "best" or "right" time to practice. Some practitioners do find that practicing in the late afternoon or even just before bed are the best times for them.
Where to Practice
After identifying the times when you want to practice, you need to find a space in which to practice. Although a few people are lucky enough to have an unused room that they can turn into a designated "yoga room," many people live in small houses or apartments and have to make do with some corner of the living room, bedroom, or even the kitchen. In some cases, using a combination of different spaces or areas in your home can be effective (for example, you may have a wall in one room where you do against-the-wall poses and another space in a different room where you practice your freestanding poses). Many everyday people have been able to develop rich and rewarding home practices within the confines of small, crowded spaces.
If you have any options, consider the type of floor on which you will be practicing. Your first choice should be a wood floor, if one is available. If your home is carpeted, it is best to practice on the most tightly woven carpet, such as industrial carpet, rather than on loose, cushy carpet, which is very difficult to balance on. In addition, if the surface is too soft, you get very slow feedback, so your body responses are also slow, which can be damaging to your joints. The worst surface you can practice on is concrete; however, marble and tile are actually quite good and you may even prefer them to carpeting.
Enhancing Your Environment
If you are lucky enough to be able to dedicate a room or corner of a room to yoga, consider putting some effort into creating an environment that will make you more likely to want to practice and to focus on yoga while you are in it. Some people set up altars, display photographs of teachers or inspiring spiritual figures, or burn candles or incense. For other people, creating an inviting environment may be as simple as doing yoga in front of a window with a good view or in a room that has beautiful natural light.
If you have more than one possibility in your home, try to find your yoga space the way a cat finds a place for a nap. Where do you want to practice? Maybe you have a big spare room but that space between your bed and the wall feels like the place where you want to lay down your mat, so why not practice there? And even if you do have a designated yoga room, on some days you may feel like practicing in a different space. Go with your intuition and lay down your mat wherever you wish. Various rooms or spaces in your home may be more appealing during different seasons or at different times of day.
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