I have been reading some articles about people getting hurt in Yoga over the past year and they are asking about the safety of Yoga for “everyone”. What really comes to my mind here is the “power” of a regular practice. Also, choosing the class and the teacher that works best for you. It is often hard to allow ourselves to be a beginner at things and this includes our yoga practice. Its a practice in itself to recognize our own limits and boundaries and honor what we can do today…right now.
If people only do Yoga once a week and take a very “vigorous” class they may be pushing the body much further than it is ready for. Sort of a “Weekend Warrior” approach to Yoga… I get it. Most of us work and are trying to squeeze in as much as we can on our time off. I work full time then teach yoga 2-3 times a week so believe me when I say I get it! 🙂 🙂 It can be soooo tough to get it all in… Ultimately, it is a life long practice and some poses may take years to get close to getting into if at all for the majority of people. Some days we may feel we can’t hold a simple pose to save our life… However, the good thing is we don’t have to be defeated by these things, but possibly could be relieved by them! It can take the pressure off a bit. We are human after all!
I finally learned to ask myself questions about why I wanted to do a certain pose? Why do I feel I need to? If I can’t do every pose am I still good enough? Is doing this pose going to make me a better teacher? What is working well? Can I accept I don’t have the strength yet? Acceptance and letting go – detaching from the outcome – is kind of a big deal. Yes, it can be humbling.
It can also keep us safe.
I can be competitive with myself and I have strained a bicep pushing myself to go ahead with more repetitions. This is the lesson of the practice – to listen to our own body. The body can be pushed around by the mind… I have to come back to this idea frequently…
Patanjali teaches us to find and practice “steadiness and ease” in our poses – “Sthira and Sukham” – that takes sooooo much practice to slow down enough to work with the breath and stop when we are not ready to go further. He speaks to this from the general sitting for meditation and it extends to all the poses. I think it extends also to how we come to the mat in general. Find steadiness with a building a regular yoga and meditation practice. Find ease by letting your practice be shorter if needed, more restorative if and when needed, releasing judgement, not comparing to others, understand and LOVE that yoga is more than asana and most of all …finding space for breath.
The best thing we can do is keep coming to the mat and building consistency…as Pattahbi Jois said “Practice and all is coming”…