This post is intended for those who wants to begin yoga practice but doesn't know where to start from. It contains an outline of what my yoga teacher gave me over the period of six months or so when I first met him. I remember being quite disappointed because it didn't look like anything I typically saw online or when other people practiced it. It seemed way to basic and did not require almost any serious effort. What he emphasized the most were pranayama techniques especially the Alternate Nostril Breathing as the foundation for everything else.
Modern yoga studios practice Ashtanga Vinyasa style of yoga which is geared towards athleticism and flexibility. There is very little therapeutic value left there and that's when you find a good studio. They never do pranayama as a stand alone practice which is a big flaw. Breathing has to be practiced separately and regularly because it is the key to healing. Now I realize that if I just started my yoga at a studio I wouldn't have got better at all.
Later I tried practicing yoga outside of home, learned bunch of cool looking difficult asanas, started advanced kundalini yoga but all that just made me worse, so I decided to go back to the same basic stuff that I learned in the beginning and stick to it. This is pretty much all you need especially when the body is so weak.
Try to do it in the morning after taking a shower. There is a lot more prana (healing life force) in the air during morning hours (6-9) than later, and when you do pranayama or asanas you are moving that life force through your body. Water has grounding quality to it, so you might "wash it off" when you take a shower or bath later.
Start your practice with breathing:
1.Alternate nostril breathing (it is also called Anuloma Viloma or Nadi Sodhana)
2. Kapalabhati pranayama 30x3 - do it ONLY in the morning and do not confuse it with Bhastrika or Bellows breath which is not meant for a weakened body. These two techniques are similar but NOT the same. I also added holding the breath on the inhale after each round of 30 breaths with focusing attention on the area of the navel, chest and between the eyebrows in the end of each 30 breath cycle
I will just name them as a general guideline but I encourage you to look them up online and learn how to do each individual asana separately. There are only few asanas that have to be synchronized with the breath and will require breath retention.
They are very important because they generate a lot of prana and I will try to explain them in more detail. Do not do those particular asanas in the evening.
1. Roll (grab your knees and roll back and forth on your back) 10 times.
2. Twist 30 sec each side x 2
Synchronized with the breath:
3. Cobra 5 - 10 sec - inhale on the count of 5 when you come up, hold on 5, exhale on 5 when you go down and hold on 5.
Try to make your breath even and gradually increase the seconds to 10 over six months practice. This is very powerful asana if done this way with breath retention. Don't do it more than twice and don't force the breath.
4. Yogamudra ( sit on your knees modification) -ask me if yo can't figure out what it is about:)
5. Head to knee pose twice on each side - inhale on 6, lower your torso toward one leg while exhaling on 6, hold your breath after exhale on 6, come up on the inhale very slowly on the count of 6, exhale while sitting on 6 and hold your breath after exhale on 6. Do this twice on each side. This is also called mahamudra. It is another very important asana if done like that. May increase the count to 8-10 seconds with practice.
6. Padahastasana - inhale on the count of 5 with your arms up, exhale slowly while bending down to touch your toes on 5, hold breath on 5, slowly inhale and come up on the count of 5, exhale on the count of 5 and hold on the count of 5. Slowly increase to 10 seconds with practice. Do this asana twice.
These asanas are particularly important and should be synchronized with the breath the way I tried to explain. They should be practiced every morning and are extremely easy.
7. Half wheel or Bridge pose 30 sec
8. Triangle 15-30 sec each side x 2
9. Tree pose 20-60 sec each side x 2
10. Plow 15 - 30 sec x 6(!!!) - this one is very important too ( try different variations with arms extended over your head, hands behind yor neck etc.)
11. Shoulderstand - 20-60 sec x 2
Never pick up your head after lowering your legs when doing the plow pose or shoulderstand.
12. Fish 60 sec
13. Paschimotasana - 60 sec
15 - Savasana -10-15 minutes(!!!!) - absolutely necessary in the end of each practice
Savasana should be done independently as well throughout the day 10-20 min each time for better sleep and it promotes the parasympathetic activity as you all know.
Add 15-30 min meditation twice a day - that's all you need.
Kundalini meditation or any chakra meditation will make you worse if you are weak. Focusing on upper chakras causes anxiety and might trigger panic attacks. Be careful with advanced meditation practices.
That's it. If you can do this every day to the best of your ability it is going to make a huge difference in your health status. It did in mine. It helped me reverse the catabolic phase that I was in for two years and rid me of very severe Depression that nearly took my life. It does work and I hope it would help someone navigate in that complex yoga world which can make you so dizzy.
It's always beneficial to research and study more about different aspects of yoga but this could be a nice place to start your home practice if you are new to it.
I'm not an expert on yoga, so I apologize if I skipped some detail or failed to explain things clearly enough. I'm dealing with severe brain fog and focusing on something drains my energy pretty bad.
I just thought that it might really help someone and since yoga was given to me as a life-saving gift I want to pass it on... You never know what might help...