Let’s talk a little yoga. Downward facing dog, happy baby, virabhadrasana II, savasana… any sound familiar? That’s not important here. What’s important is what the asanas do and bring. Asana is one of the eight limbs of yoga and defined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras as “to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed.” The goal is equal parts effort and ease. I’ll go into the other seven limbs another time. Today I want to share you with the reasons I get my asana to my yoga mat…
… When I need to stretch. When I want stronger abs. When my body aches. When I want to sweat. When I feel gassy. When I have a headache or menstrual cramps. When I need an alcohol detox. When I need to detox from negative thoughts. When I feel stuck. When my thoughts are racing. When I don’t know the answer. When I feel lost. When I want to cry. When I feel alone. When I want to dance. When I need some peace. When I feel at peace. When I need to believe in the power of love. When I don’t have some one to talk things out with. When I need some confidence. When I want to play. When I want to be upside down.
We are in a new place every day, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and our yoga practice should reflect that. Just because we can do something or did something yesterday does not mean we need to or should go there today. Just because we have never tried something doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try today. Yoga is my medication and my dosage and type change daily. Asanas move, stretch, strengthen, calm, ground, excite, challenge and open me. I like to remind my students, and myself, that besides safety for your body, it doesn’t matter what you look like in a pose or how far you go, what matters is the state of your mind and the quality of your breath in the pose.
Of course there are times I give myself a break from asanas… When my gut says it’s not what I need in that moment. When my body needs a break. When I’ve had something to drink. When I just ate (ideally I give my body at least two hours break between.) When my flow (and I don’t mean yoga flow) has got me down (usually it’s just a day of rest I need, but it’s different for every woman). When I don’t prioritize well. When I’m just in a funk.
The beautiful thing is yoga is not a show or competition, it is a practice. It is your unique practice and you are the decider and caretaker. The goal is going deeper into you authentic self and the hot yoga bod is just a bonus.
I would love to hear from you! Why do you go to your yoga mat? When do you stay off?
Sending my love and support on your journey,