Is anyone else a fan of the brilliant food writer M.F.K. Fisher? I not only love her beautiful writing, but also her ideas. When I first started reading her work, I remember being struck by a simple but profound of advice she had for eating well:
“Instead of combining a lot of dull and sometimes actively hostile foods into one routine meal after another, three times a day and every day, year after year, in the earnest hope that you are being a good provider, try this simple plan: Balance the day, not each meal in the day.”
(You can read her entire advice on this subject on the Less Is Enough blog.)
What Fisher meant was that you did not have to eat every single food group at every single meal (what we used to call a “square meal,” something American nutritionists used to insist on) but rather you could have grains for breakfast, a salad or soup for lunch, and meat or fish with vegetables for dinner. You'd still get all the nutrition you needed—just not all at once! Thirty years later, I still follow her advice.
I recommend applying the same advice to your home yoga practice. Rather than trying to make every single yoga practice like a balanced “meal” by including some of everything, you can focus each day on one or two of the major classes of poses. And by the end of the week, you’ll have done a very wide range of poses, balancing your body by moving all your joints within their range of motion and reducing problems associated with repetitive stress.
So what are the basic pose “food groups” you could think about trying to cover in a week? Leaving out a few poses that don't fit that well into general categories, they are:
- Standing poses
- Forward bends
- Inverted Poses
- Restorative poses
|A Pose You Can Skip from Yoga: The Poetry of the Body by Yee and Zolotow|
I hope this helps you feel more comfortable about starting a home practice because the main thing is just to jump right in. I’ll do another post soon on how to plan a single practice, but in general there are no hard and fast rules, and there is no reason why your home practice has to look like a class.