How to enhance your yoga practice on-the-go?
Throughout my yoga teaching journey, I received so many enquiries from my students and the members of public in so many different topics – from what yoga mat they should buy? or what yoga pants would I recommend? to whether do I offer naked / goat / wine yoga or not?. Each & every question brought joy to my teaching. I am grateful for them!
However, if I should mention one of those questions here, I would probably pick the one below which would certainly be helpful for all in these days around Covid-19:
“Aslihan, what was the mobile application that you mentioned in the yoga class again???”
OK! peeps, here we go*:
Meditation & Mindfulness
I don’t know if you heard about the Insight Timer App before, but it's my favourite one ever. I trust that it helps us to improve and enjoy our meditation & mindfulness practices with lots of wisdom, richness and fun. It’s a collective meditation community from all around the glob with world wide known teachers and the largest free meditation library on earth. On the app, you can find lots of guided practices, talks and music in different lengths and topics as well as meditation groups & forums to join. I am sure you can benefit from it hugely in a short & long term too.
Good news is, although there is a premium subscription is available, most of the practices are free!
Another one is Head Space. Under normal circumstances you need to subscribe on it to use the app fully. However they offer something amazing recently: If you’re currently unemployed, you can get a free year of Headspace Plus.
... And Calm which also requires a monthly investment with a free trial option. In the app you can find so many breathing practices, guided meditation recordings, bed time stories – most popular ones are from Steven Fries' voice -, calming wallpapers and nature sounds to listen. All these are aiming you to improve performance, reduce anxiety, develop gratitude, better sleep, reduce stress, increase happiness and build self-esteem.
These apps also have sections for kids & teens.
Sleep, Rest & Deep Relaxation
If you have some troubles to fall asleep, less stimulation couple of hours before your bedtime and withdrawing your senses with more mellow and calming practices would help. You can still use the apps that I mentioned above for the same purpose.
I also came across to a device called Dodow sometime ago. However, it is a bit pricey and there are many other free mobile applications available to use in breathing practices such as Prana Breath. Probably the only difference is, these mobile applications do not reflect a glowing and expanding dot on your ceiling to focus on and synchronise your breath with it while you are in your bed. Dodow is also available on Amazon.
Have you ever tried yoga nidra (yogic sleep) before? If not, I would strongly recommend practising yoga nidra right before you go to bed as you may find it very helpful and powerful to boost a good night sleep. There are many recordings available on YouTube, Spotify and Amazon Music stream. I would recommend iRest recordings.
Remember that yoga nidra is not a substitute to your night sleep but a very powerful practice to advance a good sleep during the night.
Practising 5 to 30 minutes Shavasana one or two times during the day can help you to tune in at night, too. Restorative Yoga is also a good practice to stimulate body’s relaxation response and to make yourself ready for the bed. It slows down your metabolism and make your body ready for the next stage: Sleep.
Essential oils (which must be certified and in therapeutic grade), aroma therapy and / or a warm bath infused with especially lavender oil in the evening may also help to promote your sleep for a better quality. I use the mobile app, Essential Oils and More…, to be inspired and to learn how to apply them - of course always with cautious. They must be certainly used and applied with the guidance of a professional such as an aroma therapist or an ayurveda specialist.
Journaling & Self-reflection
I trust that journaling may help us to track our mental and emotional state by recording our practices, feelings and mental talks no matter what and to reflect on them soon or later. It helps us to keep flexible in our mind and heart, and to turn our drishti (gazing point) to what we already have and what we actually need. To keep a journal you don’t have to write pages long entries. You can have a scrap book, you can doodle, you can record your voice on your phone or take a video footage and you can keep a digital diary even – there are many applications available for it. My absolute favourite is Diaro - there is a very small fee to download the premium version. I am sure this practice will give you a good insight about how and where you need to focus more.
Finding Inspiration Through Listening
I find Google Podcasts application (Android and IOS) quite practical to listen, bookmark and download many yoga, health and wellbeing related talks. All in one place and you can subscribe on many great channels broadcasted by well known people around the world - Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen; Dr. Chatterjee; Ram Dass; Ted Talks; Free Cookies; Russell Brand and many more...
... And Finally Yoga
Hmmm! To be completely honest I never could find a 100% compatible on-the-go yoga teacher for myself. All the ones that I tried in the past were far from offering fully accessible, affordable, authentic, whole and most importantly safe practices to all abilities. I have been always a very much "uniting the collective energy" and "know me well!" type of yogini - this approach kept my practices delightful and safe in beautiful yoga communities. I've enjoyed the guidance of my real time yoga teachers more, and benefited from their teachings to the fullest degree.
I would say here, ask your own yoga teacher whether she (or he) offers online yoga sessions to her students on Zoom App, Facebook Live App, IG TV App, YouTube App or on any other online platform- you both are familiar each other's way of teaching and learning after all. Ask her if there is any possibility to give you a home practice by considering your specific needs. Request a workshop themed around creating a home yoga practice (she will love hearing about your needs and demands). Know her remote learning guidelines and the insurance requirements. Check with her if and when she is accessible in case of you may need her assistance further for her recorded sessions.
Enjoy your body & mind practices loveliests! :)
Breathe well, flow well, connect well! With infinite Love and Gratitude! Aslihan, the Crow
* These are obviously only my suggestions and certainly not a prescription. As always please consult with your doctors or other health professionals first when you have any concern about your health and wellbeing.