It might sound obvious, but one of the biggest obstacles to home practice is finding space. This was even an issue several centuries ago. The classic 15th century Indian text on yoga the Hatha Yoga Pradipika is one of the major sources on how to practise yoga for modern day practioners.
It advises: “the yogi should practice Hatha Yoga in a small room, situated in a solitary place, being 4 cubits square, free from stones, fire, water, disturbances of all kinds…the room should have a small door, be free from holes, hollows, neither be too high nor too low, well plastered with cow dung, clean, bug free. The grounds enclosed by a wall and beautified by an arbor, a raised platform and a well.”
Setting modern day distractions – mobiles, TV, internet etc – aside, we share many of the same concerns as the Indian yogis of several centuries ago. So mark out your own 4ft by 4ft space in a quiet corner of the house, and create your own ‘arbour’, maybe with flowers, a small buddha or photograph. Have a mat and block nearby, and perhaps a CD of meditation or soothing music if you find that helpful.
I prefer to do my yoga first thing in the morning – after a cup of tea. But choose a time of day that suits you, even just 10 or 15 minutes is enough.
The benefits? In July this year The Guardian reported: “At least an hour of physical activity a day may be required to offset the harmful effects of sitting at a desk for eight hours, according to the latest study to highlight the perils of a sedentary lifestyle.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline, adopted by Public Health England, recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week but research, based on data from more than one million people, suggests that is insufficient for many.
The experts suggest - to eliminate the risk of an earlier death - we all do an hour of brisk walking each day. You won’t be surprised, however, to hear me suggest around 20 minutes of yoga style stretches might do the job instead – without having to drag yourself out of the door on a rainy December evening for your “brisk walk”.
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