For some students, one side of the body is definitely more open than the other side. Erich Schiffmann has a wonderful suggestion – start your asana on the more open side first. Dr. Motoyama agrees with this advice. Your closed side will watch with amazement at what is happening and will be inspired to open that much as well. Of course, if you don’t know which side is more open, it really doesn’t matter. But make sure you don’t do the same side twice. You may end up with a limp. You laugh! But it happens. One way to make sure that doesn’t happen to you is to always start with your right side. That way you will always know that your next side will be the left side.

If you are short of time, do fewer postures instead of holding many poses for less time. It is those last few breaths that give you the most benefit in a pose. It is like that last push-up that strengthens you the most, or that last sugar-filled, creamy doughnut that puts on the most weight. Of course, there are no absolutes, so feel free to do the opposite too; do more poses for shorter holds if you have less time. But shortening the time in the poses moves us away from the real yin nature of the practice. If you have time for only one posture, do the Butterfly.

Finally, be aware of how much time you have allowed for your practice. The opening meditation and poses can take up to fifteen percent of this time, and finishing postures, including Shavasana, may be another fifteen percent or so. That leaves you seventy percent of the time for the key poses you really wanted to get into. Be aware of the time as you flow. Don’t shortchange the ending because you got carried away with the fun postures in the middle of the practice. Shavasana is the most important part of the practice, as we will see next.