“Even a little is better than none at all.”
Sometimes we know too much. Should I do some sun salutations? Or would long slow hip stretches be better? Maybe practice kicking up into a handstand? Bridge pose–hummm, would that be good for my back? Child’s pose? Arm balances? Hamstring stretches? Can I remember that vinyasa sequence? Arggh! Sometimes “choices” can be a deterrent to actually stepping onto our yoga mat for a home practice. Here is a novel idea: do ONE yoga pose. Just one. Don’t overwhelm yourself with the expectation that a “yoga practice” has to include a little bit of everything, or be a “sequence.” Start small. Simple.
Downward-Facing Dog (adho mukha svanasana):
- Roll out your yoga mat.
- Come onto your hands and knees, with your hands about 6” in front of your shoulders.
- With your arms straight and shoulder-distance apart, and your fingers spread and pointed forward, straighten your legs and move your pelvis up and back. Feel those 3 aspects: Straight arms. Pelvis up and back. Straight legs.*
- *(If your hamstrings are especially tight and your back rounds a lot when your legs straighten, allow a generous bend in your knees and concentrate on lengthening the sides of your body so that your pelvis draws back away from your arms.)
- Bring enthusiasm to straightening your arms and legs, and zeal to the action of extending your pelvis back. Cultivate a confident presence and steadfast energy. Press your heels towards the ground. Take 5-10 deep breaths, maintaining elongation in your body. Come out of the pose when your concentration wanes or when you get tired.
Downward-Facing Dog strengthens and stretches shoulders and legs. The inversion of having your head lower than your heart improves circulation and the movement of lymph (good for immunity.) Many people find it grounding and supportive of a clear and confident mind.
You can repeat downward dog pose if you wish. But let that One Pose be ENOUGH. Witness changes in your body, your attitude, and your energy. Even a little is better than none at all.