Just some humble musings on this ancient tradition that I share every week in class....
As far as I am concerned there is no right or wrong when it comes to Yoga. Each pose is an opportunity for exploration of your physical and mental responses to these new and unusual movements and shapes that you are making. Pain is a signal from the body to the brain and should be listened to during our yoga practice – listen to the responses from your body, what your body is telling you and be kind to yourself. Show yourself no harm. When you are present with the sensations in the body so you can decide what is best for you.
When I guide a class, I will share my experience and ideas about how to access a pose but remember you don’t have to listen to and agree with everything I say. This isn’t a dictatorship. I cannot know how everything feels in your individual body. Listen and trust yourself and your instincts.
Take note of emotions as they arise in your practice. When things are hard, or not hard enough. When we are not practicing something you enjoy, or you don’t know why we are doing it. Maybe things are too quiet, too still? I invite you to approach these feelings with curiosity.
There is no reason to judge yourself for finding something challenging. There is no need to become frustrated, instead be curious and explore how you can make the pose work for you by adjusting yourself and trying new options. Ask questions and we can explore the options together.
There are many reasons why you might find a pose challenging – the way that your body is built - the way our bones connect to one another, the flexibility of our tendons and ligaments, the strength of our muscles – these things won’t be the same for everyone so our experience of poses won’t be the same either. You may have had an injury which has affected the way you experience a pose. All sorts of past experiences can affect the limits that our central nervous system has set for the joints and the muscles as a way of protecting us, even if we no longer need that protection. Our range of motion in the joints is maintained through movement.
Frances Robertson-Ritchie, Yoga teacher and hypnotherapist