Practicing effectively - the timer


During the last 2 years I had enough time to reflect on my practice. I came to the conclusion that the method of learning the asanas and vinyasas can be improved. It’s not enough and rather ineffective to hold an asana for five breaths only. If one wants to learn an asana one must do more than this.

  1. I use a timer. I hold several asanas for 1 minute these days. Today I practiced primary. I held marichyasana B for 1 minute as it’s a good preparation for one of the most difficult asanas of this series, which is supta kurmasana. I also held the twist marichyasana C for one minute to balance all the forward bending asanas and I held the headstand for 1 minute at the end of my practice. One minute can be rather long. Scientific research have found out that the body needs time to relax. 5 breaths is not enough, this can not be repeated often enough. When the body is relaxed stretching is possible. One must also hold the position for a while to make it last.

  2. It’s useful to look for external clues. The timer is an auditive external clue. It has much more authority than my inner voice that is counting. The timer is also more precise. Another external visual clue can be the wall. When I stretch I aim for reaching the wall. This will never be possible as the wall is so far away, but the thought alone helps to lengthen the body more than without this external clue. Stretch your body is less effective than trying to reach a wall that is far away, also when it’s only a thought.

  3. The timer also tells me when 90 minutes are over. I aim for a daily practice that lasts 90 minutes. It’s so much easier to have a time frame than to practice till all poses are done. It intensifies my practice.I have no orientation how late it got already when I practice. To look at a clock again and again is only distracting.

To practice before breakfast is wonderful. The stomach must be empty in order to get deep into the twists.

The plan when practicing primary:

I want to hold a forward fold, a twist, my most difficult pose and headstand for 1 minute. The goal behind this goal is to get so used to be in asanas that one can finally enjoy these asanas. It must feel good to be in a pose. Breaths must flow easily. It would be good if the face is relaxed, too. If the pose looks as if it’s a piece of cake, if you can sleep in that pose, you’re there.

I wonder how to get stronger again……