Lately, circumstances have offered me significant opportunities to do what I have committed to do: listen to my body. And WOW - what a difference it makes when I do! In fact, the more that I give myself permission to honour myself, my body, and what I need in my yoga practice, the easier it becomes.
It may seem surprising, but when I find where my "edge" is, and back off just slightly - to say 90-95%, I find what is essentially the sweet spot. And it is sweet. Maybe my back knee is down instead of up in the low lunge that everyone is doing, and maybe I'm using a strap to pull my knee in tighter to my chest during a hip opener. No matter what the action is, or how different it looks from what everyone else in the class is doing - I find MORE expansiveness, MORE freedom, and MORE buoyancy in my body following the practice where I've been true to myself. I come away from each series of postures feeling stronger and more confident. This is what I have always done in my personal practice, I suppose I just needed to remind myself that being in a class doesn't change the fact that this is still my personal practice. That's what I tell anyone else - so I needed to give myself a little nudge to get back on track with walking the talk.
This IS the Yoga that I want to teach. This is what I want to share with people. Doing something different from others isn't always about laziness or avoiding something difficult. It can and should be about learning to listen to your body and doing what is right for you IN THIS MOMENT. Some days, you might lift easily into that back bend while holding your own weight up - and other days you might need to slip some blankets, a brick, or a bolster underneath you to support the opening you seek. What we really need to do is understand that just like our hearts, and our minds - our bodies needs vary from moment to moment.
Do you crave the exact same foods every day? Do you crave the exact same conversations? Of course not. Humans are a species of wild diversity and so doesn't it make sense that this diversity and craving for different and varied experiences would be present in our bodies as well?
Now, each time I come to the mat, I promise myself that today, I will act upon what my body needs without judgement, but with gratitude. My practice is just one of the ways I can honour the amazing gift of this body that allows me to do and experience so many wonderful things, and so I'm doing just that.
How about you