This week we are focusing on Shakti, or creative energy. Shiva and Shakti are dominant themes in the yogic tradition as Shiva represents consciousness and Shakti represents creation. When we focus on Shakti we are focusing on unleashing our creative side. It can feel as though not everyone is creative. If you’re someone more inclined to math or left brain dominant, you may not feel like a creative- but truly EVERYONE has a creative side.
While we advocate to practice within the guidance of a teacher and the space of community (class/ studio setting), creating your own yoga flow and practicing on your own is an INCREDIBLE way to deepen your yoga practice. To help you tap into your creative side this week, we’ll list below how to create your own yoga flow. Video yours and tag us @practiceindieyoga #practicecreativity this week!
Step 1: Set the Scene
When creating a yoga flow and practicing on your own, make sure that the space is set up adequately. Have enough room to extend your arms and legs, unroll your yoga mat, have a candle burning or incense (if available), grab any props you might have, and make sure the space invites calm and focus. We also recommend being near some natural elements when possible- water, sunlight, flowers, plants, etc.
Make sure you have time to practice, and maybe ditch your phone (or put it on airplane mode) and set an egg timer for accountability of time. 10 minutes is a great time frame to start with, especially if your time is limited to practice.
*The following practice is set up to be as short as 20 minutes long and as 45 minutes. Edit accordingly to your needs :).
Step 2: Arrive & Settle
The first part of your flow is to arrive and settle.
- Choose a comfortable position to start. We recommend seated, but lying down can work too.
- Take a few deep breaths and close your eyes.
- Arrive mentally, physically and spiritually in the space you are in and settle into the present moment (aka, let go of where you just came from or where you’ll go to next).
- Arrive & Settle for 1-3 minutes
Step 3: Breath Work & Centering
- Begin to take more intentional breaths. Suggestions: Sama Vritti (inhales and exhales are the same length) or box breathing (inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4). We recommend 3-8 rounds of intentional breathing.
- Choose an intention so that you can stay present and focused on your mat. Put it in a simple, short format- either one word like ‘present’ or a simple, affirmative phrase ‘I am present’.
- Breath and get centered for 1-3 minutes
Step 4: Warm Up
- Start moving the body! This could be cat / cow, reclined hamstring stretches, child’s pose or Sun Salutations.
- Begin moving slowly and mindfully, with your breath and listening to the needs of your body. Maybe you do movements that are made up- it doesn’t matter as long as you are honoring what your body needs to get moving safely.
- This is called a WARM UP, so make sure you are warm before moving to the next section.
- Warm Up for 3 – 5 minutes
Step 5: F L O W
- If you’re new to yoga, practice sun salutations and really connect breath with movement! Sun Salutes are a WONDERFUL way to experience the flow state, build strength, improve flexibility and connect breath with movement.
- If you have more experience with yoga connect poses that flow easily together. A few common sequencing options:
- downward facing dog – three limb down dog – lifted leg steps to the top of the mat – lunge – warrior I or II – triangle and/or side angle – hands back to the mat – downward facing dog – repeat to the other side
- mountain pose – lunge – a twist of some sort in lunge – warrior II – wide leg forward fold – step to the top of the mat – repeat other side
- cat/ cow – spinal balance – gate pose – supported side plank – pranam – cobra – table top – repeat other side
- This is a time to play and then shut your brain off and really where Shakti energy comes into.. well, play. Maybe you write it down, try the flow a few times and then just M O V E. Let go and create! We recommend not doing any super advanced or difficult postures so you can stay in flow and creative state and away from getting so trapped in how to do something or experiencing failure (at this point- failure is a GREAT teacher 😉 for later on!).
- Flow for 5-10 minutes (this should be the bulk of your effort, next to savasana & meditation)
Step 6: Balancing | Counter Poses
- Depending on the time you have, take this time to slow your heart down and do some counter postures. This could look like:
- tree pose and bridge pose
- mountain pose, seated forward fold and sphinx
- a seated or reclined twist and hip opener
- Do something that helps you bring yourself back to stillness and ready to close out your practice.
- 2-3 minutes
Step 7: Savasana
- Arguably the most important part of our practice next to the flow state (for today’s purposes anyway). Take TIME with your savasana. Set up so that you can comfortably be still for a long period of time.
- Truly R E S T
- 3 – 5 minutes (5 minutes if you can afford the time!)
Step 8: Meditation
- Don’t skip this part! Come out of your rest to a comfortable seated posture (chairs count!).
- Close your eyes or rest your gaze softly forward.
- Sit in stillness for 5 minutes or find a recorded meditation (we love Insight Timer).
- Be fully present. This is where Shiva and Shakti energy meet. Consciousness with Creativity in harmony.
- 5-10 minutes
Step 9: Close out your practice
- Take a moment for gratitude. Maybe thank yourself for showing up on your mat and any forces that allowed you to do so (a supportive spouse, the God of your understanding, your body, etc.)
- Repeat your intention, if you set one.
- Take a few final deep breaths.
- Set an intention to take OFF of your mat. Our yoga is only as good as it becomes a process and state by which we live.
- Bow to yourself, your efforts, this practice, your teachers, your teachers’ teachers and the light that holds us all (just to name a few :)).
- If time, journal about your experience.
- Commit to doing it again!
- 2-5 minutes