Since returning to teaching yoga this fall, I’ve been thinking a lot about the space yoga occupies in my life and in my students’ and fellow teachers’ lives, and what I’m learning is that this space changes over time. I’ve decided that this is a good thing, because it means we are maturing in our practices and our relationships with ourselves.
Sometimes we throw ourselves into a daily active postural practice and use yoga as a form of exercise. But other times in our lives we go to the gym, run, walk, find a zumba class we like, etc., and our yoga practice changes to complement what we’re doing. And in times when we’re particularly busy or stressed, a quiet restorative practice can help us deal better with our lives, until things get more manageable.
I think that the best thing we can do for ourselves and our practices is to take a few moments to close our eyes and breathe. Then ask, what does my body need today? Importantly, we have to be able to accept the answer without judgement. If I haven’t been exercising and I know I “should,” but my body is asking to do legs-up-the-wall, a forward fold, and savasana, that has to be okay today. Because the way we are is enough. We respect and honor our bodies by giving ourselves the practices we need, not the practices we’re led to believe we should need.
I’ve found that the wonderful thing about restful practices is that they give me the energy I need when I feel depleted. I also find that when I can respect and honor what my body is asking for, it sometimes craves the physically strenuous practices too.
Point is, our bodies have innate wisdom, and I’m learning that honoring that wisdom is an important part of the practice.