Move that body or lose that body!
Myis exhausted, , sore, tender, stiff, and some days unbearably painful. I have been practicing off and on for years. It was only recently that I realized this should be practiced every single day to help alleviate the pain, stiffness, and fatigue of muscles and spine.
The Iyengar method focuses on alignment of the physical being through various poses (called asanas). This method also focuses on breath control while in each pose (asana). I really like Iyengar because you hold your pose much longer than in other methods. There isn’t really very much Vinyasa flow in this practice. Vinyasa flow is the fluid-like movements going from one asana to the next. Remember, poses are called asanas. With the Iyengar method, each asana is held for a period of time while getting the body into the proper pose and alignment. My body reacts in a positive way to holding the poses rather than moving in a fluid motion from pose to pose.
Another reason why I much prefer Iyengar is due to the use of props such as blocks for support, a belt (think bathrobe tie) to help stretch muscles you might not be flexible enough to stretch yet, and blankets or pillows used for a little added tailbone support. I add in a little Vinyasa flow occasionally through a class to practice mindful breathing and have a routine of sorts. It feels fabulous to have a “routine” and move about from one pose to the next (think a choreographed aerobics routine, but with yoga). I am just not skilled enough in my poses to feel comfortable creating a routine on my own so I generally practice breathing and do a variety of about 20 poses while holding each for a few minutes.
It is much easier for me to practice at home, early in the morning when the house is quiet. While going to class is definitely pleasurable, finding the time and scheduling it in during the day is more difficult. So for now, a quiet space at home is working out just fine. Also, I have been using a book called Hatha Yoga Illustrated by Martin Kirk, Brooke Boon, and Daniel DiTuro. I use the website and I purchased the book about five your six years ago.
The book is fantastic. It has step-by-step photos and written instructions for each pose. If I follow this book, I could practice for 30 minutes or 60 minutes depending on how my body feels on any given day. I never practice for less than 30-minutes though. It really takes that long for my body to warm up, loosen up, and my brain and thoughts to become focused. I feel stronger, leaner, taller, more in tune with my own self and people around me. I am more flexible and less pained. The step-by-step instruction is exceptional. It makes it very easy to practice at home.
Another little ditty I found is a book and website about yoga for Multiple Sclerosis patients. (Link below) http://www.yogams.com/
Hopefully others of you out there are taking this wonderful gentle practice to help keep your body in flowing, moving, working order. For my personal case, my neurologist recommended yoga for my body. Please ask your own doctor about practicing yoga yourself. Do not just begin. Each spinal cord is different!