I woke up tired this morning after a second night of tossing and turning and realized I had strained a muscle in my shoulder while I slept. Mulling it over, I decided to be very gentle in my Ashtanga Yoga practice today. Given the amount of anxiety I’ve apparently been carrying lately, I wondered how this would go.
Honestly, my practice flowed better despite my injury. I think this is because I felt very in tune with my body and adjusted my movements as needed. That got me thinking about how my body flows throughout a yoga sequence. Physical exertion is not yoga’s primary purpose. Yoga is a moving meditation. I have to remind myself of this often.
What does that mean? I know for me, it takes days like today to help me slow down and follow my body through the practice. To move or flow through a yoga practice is to conduct a self-examination and accept our imperfections and physical progression without negative judgment. I’ve always loved thinking about my physical practice mirroring my spiritual progression. If I can overcome and accept physical limitations step by step, I can free myself from distractions that keep me from moving forward.
My yoga study in Provo, Utah, is called 3B yoga. (If you live in this area, feel free to check them out!) The three B’s stand for Breath, Bend, Be. When I first walked into my studio, I was impressed with the gentle and welcoming feeling there. As months passed and I finished my teacher training there, I marveled how each of us in the class had a different way of teaching and practicing yoga. The fundamentals were the same, but our personalities gave our classes a unique feeling.
Not only does each person flow differently, but how we practice yoga changes daily. None of us ever stay exactly the same. This is comforting for me because it means I can always progress, even while doing the same yoga sequence.
So its okay to change how deep we go into poses, or how long we stay in Shavasana during our practice. May we all flow in our own unique way!
Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.