Setting Your Practice (November Challenge and Beyond)

The November Challenge:

Meet the waning of the year and
The darkening of the days
With the flame of your practice and
The light from within.
Be ready for whatever December brings!

It’s about practice.
Sometimes your practice just comes naturally.
Sometimes it’s helpful to give it more structure!
Intention and execution.
Determining the practice that makes sense for you:
Suitable for you physically, information pills emotionally, pharm spiritually.

First, define your practice:
Which classes, and how often.
Be honest with yourself about your level of practice, your physical condition, your state of mind and your aspirations.
Be real about your time constraints, while challenging yourself:
how can you make the most of your practice?

Then, set an intention.
Put it up on the wall!
Track your progress.
Reward yourself.
(or accept a reward from us!)
But make no further judgements.

Julie and Malcolm and Emily join you on this journey.

Malcolm noted that outside his teaching, his own practice needs more attention.
He is determined to do 3 classes per week:
One strong class, one gentle or yin, and one meditation class.

Julie intends to do 2 yoga practices per week, and explore her own personal meditation practice regularly. She also intends to make November her month of cleansing: strict choices about what she eats and drinks. Malcolm looks like he’s going to be doing that too!
Emily intends to do 2 classes per week (occasionally up the street at Moksha!)
Providing she can get reliable childcare from Malcolm!

What will your practice be like?
Here are some useful principles to work with*:
1.Individual Differences: Every body and every mind are different. Length of time between sessions should be based on your own lifestyle and time constraints, fitness, commitment, age, injuries, etc.

2.Overload. When your practice explores the edge of your possibilities, perhaps into more complex postures, sometimes into overload, you may find there is progress. But you may happily wish to maintain the practice at its current level, enjoying its benefits.

3.Progression. We need to recognize our edge. There are benefits of practicing near that edge: increased strength and flexibility; and there are risks if you go over it: fatigue, pain, insomnia, and less ability to relax.

4.Adaptation: The more time we practice and the more complex the asana we do, the easier our practice becomes. But a variety of practice helps our adaptation. At the micro level, that might mean taking an option to do a gentler version of an asana, or challenging yourself to do the more difficult version. At a macro level, this might mean trying out a more challenging class, or giving yourself that nice Yin or gentle class for a change.

5.Use/Disuse. If you stop your physical practice, the gains in strength, flexibility, balance, ease and elegance will also diminish (“use it or lose it”).

6.Rest. Be sure that your intention includes rest, to regenerate and recuperate. Just as in the practice we use tension and release, so must you plan out your month of practice to include both effort and rest.

*Adapted from Susi Hately, Anatomy and Asana: Preventing Yoga Injuries

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