It is Saturday and I’m gonna make this one short and sweet, because I am bundling up and getting ready for a yoga class. It is -10F with a windchill factor of -19F right now, for your reference. But it is totally worth getting a couple of layers of clothing on and warming up the car for a bit to get to one of my favorite hatha yoga classes.
This Wednesday I got the all-clear from the surgeon post appendectomy to return to yoga. She told me I need to be mindful not to overdo it, of course, but that I was healing quickly and should be fine now.
It was the best news I got all week! Thursday night I went back to yin yoga class. It felt awesome. I was mindful of a few poses where I did not fully extend, knowing that I will slowly work my way back to where I was. After a month away from this, it is wise to go slow, and take breaks.
Most yoga teachers understand this, but a few of them out there still “push” sometimes. If you ever consider a class, I recommend one where the teacher tells you that you can always take breaks or make modifications. Feel free to sit in child’s pose, or if your knees are too strained by that, just lay in savasana (corpse pose) if that is needed. Really!
So many people push themselves, perhaps at the goading of a teacher, “come on, I know you are strong enough to hold this pose longer…” Um, no. I call that kind of teaching “yogaerobics” or perhaps the teacher is new to the practice of yoga.
Best advice: listen to your own body. Yes, it’s true that you will become stronger if you practice something like hatha or vinyasa regularly. But it is also that every body is different, and that you must respect your limits. That is wisdom.
It is also true that every DAY your body is different. Some days you may have more energy and other days maybe you did not sleep as well the night before, and you are more tired. It does not matter. The best practice is the one where you did what was right for that day, for each moment of your practice.
The best teacher is the one that encourages you to listen to your body and pace yourself. Teachers are guides, not the authorities. Your body is the ultimate authority on what is right. When you learn that, everything else falls into place. Namaste!
4 thoughts on “Back to yoga!”
I loved the insights that you gave! We know our body well, we are aware of our limits and capabilities, so it is always best to listen to what our body is trying to say. I think that the teachers and the encouraging environment are huge factors to consider in learning yoga. So we must look for yoga teachers and studios carefully.
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I have a yoga teacher I love. She encourages breaks as needed, but also knows how to empower students to find their edge without going past it. She’ll remind us to listen to our bodies and not push too hard, but to also be sure that breaks are taken when our bodies are tired and not when it’s our egos that are frustrated or feeling defeated. I’m happy you can return to your practice! Yoga always feels so sweet after a break.
I like the photo of the kitty doing a head stand.
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I know! I love that one too! 🙂