By Renee’ Fulkerson
Self-care is very much a part of the YogAlign method. And taking care of yourself during your in-class or home practice is necessary on so many levels.
- Drink water during your in-class or home practice
I recently just had a conversation with a longtime student/ friend about this very topic. We were discussing the importance of drinking water during our YogAlign class/ practice. And that we both agreed that in many yoga classes we had attended there, was simply no time to take a water break. The yoga instructor and students were moving along so quickly through posture after posture it was already a challenge to keep up. I began to think about most yoga classes I had attended in the past. And having anything beyond your yoga mat was discouraged regarding space constraints. The instructors always made it clear they needed space to move about the room without obstacles in their way. I subbed a class for my teacher Michaelle Edwards at her yoga studio here on Kauai and saw firsthand how lack of water affected a student.
This student had traveled to Kauai from another country and attended her first YogAlign class with her mother. Upon reading her and her mother’s release form, they both were in good health. They were both interested in learning the YogAlign Method to combat the effects of sitting too much. We began with the instruction of the SIP Breath. Which in itself can be very intense when you are not used to breathing so efficiently. I had noticed mom had brought a small plastic bottle of water for the both of them to share. And I always inform students there is water available and cue during class when to stop and have a water break.
As we continued, I noticed the mom finding her rhythm while the daughter was struggling. I locked eyes with her and, I could see she was going to fall to faint. And sure enough, she collapsed to the floor. Gently she floated to the floor and lay there with her eyes open. Not sure what just happened? Of course, the entire class paused and came to her side.
Water was the first thing offered and, she quickly became more comfortable. I placed a bolster under her knees and had her lay there while continuing to drink water. As I spoke with her and her mother, I learned the time difference had thrown them off their eating (drinking) and sleeping schedule. Not drinking enough water mixed with sweating from the high humidity air was not a good combination. The more water she drank, the more vibrant she became and ended up rejoining the class for the floor postures. I encourage you to practice self-care in your yoga class by drinking water during your practice (you matter).
- Take the time to use yoga props when you need them
I am a big fan of yoga props. Yoga props can come in many different forms. The yoga props I use in my home practice and while teaching
- yoga blocks (various sizes), yardstick, yoga strap the yoga mat itself, chairs, balls (all sizes) and, bolsters/blankets
I make it a point to keep my YogAlign classes small. So I can be aware of every student in the room and their needs during yoga class.
- Take a moment to rest and feel the effects of your practice
I also think this statement and suggestion rings true in our everyday lives as well. Life is moving fast and, we are moving quickly right along with it. I find some yoga classes are also keeping with this pace. I find myself constantly apologizing for not always getting the phone, responding right away to the text, or making things happen right that minute. Our in-person or personal home yoga practice is supposed to be the one place we can slow down. Take advantage of this time to stop in the moment and take a full-body stretch or pandiculate (stretching and yawning). It is necessary to stop and feel the effects of your practice to know what is working and what is not create a reset from the day from your mind and thoughts. As you lay on your back, feel the natural curves in your spine, notice the space between the chin and your chest and let your belly be full and soft. When lying on your stomach, bend your knees and let your legs make small circles massaging the low belly and feeling your diaphragm expand and contract against the floor. Place your fingertip onto your scalp and into your hair, massaging your head and earlobes. These are all simple ways to stop, feel good, and be in the moment.
Creating new habits such as stopping to feel the effects of your practice or the effects of your day is a great way to come back into the moment. And to check in with what is working and what is not working. Self-care is not just a buzzword its a priority and, you matter!