Listening to Your Body

Posted on: October 6th, 2015 By:
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When I first started doing yoga, I was absolutely convinced that it could do no wrong. In fact, there was a part of me that stopped every time I had a problem and asked “Can I fix this with yoga???” It was an absolute honey moon. But the truth is, there is a way to do yoga wrong, and the consequences for it can be kind of ugly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still absolutely obsessed with yoga (and the answer to the previous question has been ‘yes’ a great many times) but it’s important to be realistic about where the limit line is.

You can obtain yoga injuries. So how can you prevent this?

The first thing I want to say is something that you’ll hear yoga instructors say all the time, “listen to your body.” If something genuinely hurts or you feel like you’re not ready for a pose yet, do not do it. Come out of the pose and talk to your yoga instructor about it during or after class.  If an instructor attempts to push you beyond your limits, don’t be afraid to say no or go into child’s pose. A good teacher will make an adjustment for you. The goal of yoga is not to be able to do super impressive asanas or be the most flexible in your class. It’s important that we realize that we can’t do it all. I promise you that yoga is not a competitive sport.

Yoga instruction is pretty easy to get a hold of online right now. But here’s the thing, going to a yoga class is not just about setting the right mood. Investing in yoga classes (especially if you’re trying something new) is invaluable. Your yoga teacher is there to correct your poses, account for your bodies injuries, and create yoga sequences that are safe and balanced. At Sanctuary Yoga, the teachers are there to make sure that you’re safe in your practice. If you ever have any questions, they’re a great resource for helping you work with your body and not in spite of it. That’s why at the start of every class, you have the opportunity to speak about what may be a concern for you. Even if something seems minor, it can easily turn into a bigger issue than it needs to be. I have been very fortunate to have instructors at Sanctuary that have been able to provide tips and exercises to protect my body.

This past week, it became important for me to adjust my usual schedule both yoga and work alike. My body was telling me that it needed to be taken care in a way that I was not doing. It was frustrating for me. Like a lot of people, I live a pretty fast paced life and I need my body to work at its maximum capacity. More than I care to admit, it’s fairly easy for me to be rude to my body and push through so I can get my week done. This helps no one! My body is doing its best to support me and when I don’t provide that same support, I am betraying it. Before doing yoga, I saw my body as just another thing that I owned. But that’s not how it is. My body may belong to me, but I have a responsibility to it to be respectful and kind. Not doing so is harmful to me, to my community, and of course to my health.

I’m happy to say that this past week I was able to be kind to myself. I rearranged some of my responsibilities, I made sure to find out what was causing my body distress, and I did my best not to push myself too hard. It’s important to remember that yoga is a constant lesson that is not limited to the physical body. It is a lesson that links the mind and body into a greater sense of understanding and harmony.

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