What does your yoga asana practice tell you? Each posture is an opportunity to become more aware of how you are feeling. What’s going on in your body that you are being sent subtle messages begging for attention?
From stiffness, to pain, to feeling tired we tend to overlook or ignore these sensations in our bodies that are messages that balance is lost between the physical body, the mind and our spirit or being. When we ignore these indicators they become less subtle and end up being chronic or manifest into illness or disease.
As a teacher I can see when the body isn’t aligned, not just physically but energetically as well. As we force, push and overextend ourselves into a posture that for whatever reasons the body isn’t ready for, tension sets in. Muscles become tight and so we lose the flow of the pose, the body can’t release into something that can be so beneficial and effortless. In a culture where so much emphasis is placed on achievement at all costs this can be a difficult perspective to embrace.
Now as a practitioner I don’t always listen to these messages and I don’t always honour in myself what I need (soul) rather than what I want to do (ego). I realize that my sore back is telling me that I am overwhelmed, tired and I need to practice what I teach – slow down! What am I practicing for? Do I want to nourish my soul or feed my ego?
From the moment you sit on your mat to prepare for your practice, how are you feeling? Get a sense of the flow in your body; your breath, your heartbeat and the flow of energy. You want to walk off of your mat feeling better than when you first stepped onto your mat. What is going to fill you up in your practice so that you can find balance again?
Notice in each posture where there may be resistance and tension which limits the strength and elasticity in your muscles. Allow the body to release this on a physical level with breath and awareness allowing the pose to be in your body. Can you back away from the pose in a way that is more supportive rather than forceful?
If you want to go deeper and really allow yourself to release and heal, look at what this resistance is in your life. Are you holding stressful feelings in your physical body that creates a sense of worry or fear that you “stuffed” away for a better time to deal with it? Notice if you can realize what is not serving you and see if you can sense it in your pose, be willing to accept what is and then release it willingly, one practice at a time.
See how this changes each posture in every practice allowing the grace of each posture to lead you to a place of balance and peace. Pay attention to what your pose knows and is trying to lovingly tell you.
Lisa Babiuk is the owner of Soul Fitness Mind Body Studios and holds a E-RYT 500 certification. Lisa is the primary teacher of the Soul Fitness Mind Body Studios 200 and 500 hour Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training program. She is a member of the Standards Advisory Committee for the Yoga Alliance and is also a Usui Reiki Master. When Lisa is not at the studio she is enjoying some of life's pleasures with her husband and their two young boys. She enjoys cooking, reading and is also a student of karate working toward her black belt.