Yoga Inspiration: Day 16, Do you let yourself rest?

Artwork by Lokia,

For any who read my posts from the last few days, my physical practice has been on a steady decline. I had high expectations for myself, even while I am not feeling completely up to it. For several days I was going to do deep breathing exercises with longer-lasting asanas. But after doing it for one day, I knew it was not the right thing for me. Thankfully, this February yoga challenge is about understanding my limitations. For the next few days I want to focus on different aspects of my practice.

I’ve often wondered what it means to rest mindfully. People are so busy nowadays I wonder if they have forgotten how. For me, it is a matter of mindfully setting aside busy things I can do that I think I should do and being still.

I don’t need to go onto the mat today if I am not physically up to it.

I am not obligated to do extensive research if I am mentally tired.

I don’t have to walk three miles if it is 10 degrees outside and snowing to feel accomplished.

If I take the time to rest, it doesn’t mean I failed to meet my goals. It just means I’m listening to my body and adjusting what I do according to its needs.

My affirmation today is I will mindfully rest without judging or criticizing my choices.

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.

Yoga Inspiration: Day 13, Do you take time to slow down?

“Big Sky” by 9 Jedit (This is one of my favorite artists! Please check out their website and their Instagram and Grafolio accounts)

Because my practice yesterday was so stressful, I decided to slow down and take extra care to relax. Instead of focusing on continuous movement patterned after my breathing, I stayed in each posture for 1 minute, changing when a bell rang on my phone. I also limited the sequence to only an hour, so I didn’t pressure myself to do more.

I wonder if I am an anomaly. I don’t like to be rushed, especially during tests, yet I struggle to slow down when exercising or starting new projects. It takes a lot of self-control to let myself not go all the way, to not give everything I can. But that is a lot of pressure to put on one’s self. I’ve come to terms with having a perfectionist mindset, but still expect perfection from myself, even with the smallest things.

Today’s yoga experience, as slow as it was, gave me valuable insight into how I move and relax. When I sat within each posture for 1 minute, I focused on the muscles I needed to engage but also how my body settled as I breathed deeply. Even the simplest positions could be physically challenging if I had the right mindset.

Through some studying, I discovered there is a yoga style called Iyengar Yoga which holds postures longer like this. Named after its founder B.K.S. Iyengar,”poses are held much longer than in other schools of yoga, in an effort to pay closer attention to the precise musculoskeletal alignment within each asana.”(Types of Yoga) Another yoga style, which holds postures even longer than in Iyengar, is Yin Yoga. Paulie Zink established this style in order to, “apply moderate stress to the connective tissue – the tendons, fascia and ligaments – with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility.” (Types of Yoga)

Funnily enough, when my practice ended with the last bell chime, I was melancholy. The timing couldn’t be better for me to experiment with this slower, more focused sequencing. I won’t be able to do more intensive practices because of monthly menstrual issues. But I am excited rather than dismayed because I can now find a yoga style I can do freely in the future when I can’t go all out.

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.