Student: Jill, what do you actually do for your personal yoga practice?
Me: I practice what I teach.
Student: You mean you don’t do anything else? Spinning? Or running? Or Zumba? I mean, how do you get your arms to look like that?
Me: I don’t mean to sound cryptic … but I practice what I teach.
It’s true. I have been practicing yoga and multiple movement arts since I was 11 years old, and the yoga practice I teach in the classroom (I began teaching part-time at age 19 at The Omega Institute) has evolved and changed with me through the past two decades. The work I share in my classes, workshops, conferences and videos all resonates with my own discoveries in my personal “jungle gym” of a practice.
Every movement, every moment.
One maxim that I hold to be true is that every moment counts, every movement counts. (Thank you, Zobha, for making this your awesome brand statement!) I would add to this: How you hold yourself in every movement amounts to moments that matter to your longevity.
In other words, we have choices to make in every moment about how we use our body to accomplish an action. These choices include our posture while standing in line, talking on the phone, sitting at our desk, during exercise or watching TV. Practice using your body in daily life the way a first-chair violinist maintains their precious instrument. Keep it in tune. Treat your body with impeccable form during all of the “small things.” This adds up to better posture over time. Practicing with your body in inefficient positions creates deficits in the body that can create imbalance, discomfort and pain.
You literally take your yoga practice with you wherever you go. Make it matter. Connect to the smaller actions in life. They add up!
How I stay in tune: A portrait of my daily practice
But if you are really curious as to what my daily yoga practice entails … here is what a good day looks like for me. My yoga practice is full of variety, and what I’ve pulled together below is just a small slice of a much larger pie. Of course, a year from now, this might all look totally different!
Typically, my practice begins with an early morning walk with my dogs. Here are Cassius and Deli doing “sit and stay” before their walk.
Opening my hips and working my abdominals on my foam roller. A Supple Psoas is a prelude to all other hip movements.
Shoulder stabilization with Matador Circles to strengthen the entire rotator cuff.
Monk Walks with Side Bends for whole-body integration. This pose makes the side of your core groan with glee!
Getting core-geous on the Balance Ball along with some Uddihyana Bandha. This is harder than it looks 🙂
It’s even more fun to squat with friends!
Asymmetrical Twisted Triangle with a yoga block makes my hips happy.
Backbending. Notice how this pose comes near the end of my practice? I do backbends after I am very, very warm.
A fun Handstand and a moment of upside-down equipoise.
Unwind almost everything with Leg Stretch #3, a version of Twisted Triangle.
Veeparita Korani Mudra: This partial inversion helps to tune down the nervous system for meditation.
- Savasana: Deep, restorative Corpse Pose.
Playing with the dogs again. This time let’s play ROPEY!