You roll out your mat, you connect to your breath and start to surrender to the space that encompasses your practice. And as you start to connect to how you are feeling physically and emotionally, your awareness is feeding back to you that how you are actually feeling is not how you thought you felt.
Every practice is unique, every day requires a different perspective, acceptance and perseverance
As you start to move, your body is telling you to back off from poses you would normally ease into. Your breath feels a little shorter and restricted than what it did yesterday. And you just cannot seem to stop thinking about the big to-do list you have waiting for you after your class. Or there are those days where you find yourself on your mat, thinking it may have been better to go home and curl on the sofa and your awareness tells you that you have energy to release, that your body is craving to move and your breath is attuned to leading you through it all.
This is the beauty of yoga – every practice is unique and every day requires a different perspective and most importantly, acceptance and perseverance.
With so many different styles of yoga, there is no limitation to nourishing and healing your body with what it needs on a particular day. While a regular practice is essential to cultivate physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits, it is important to remember to look within and listen to your body and your intuition. To tap into our energetic and physical state in the present moment to give ourselves what we truly need – not what we think we should need.
When feeling low on energy or stagnant, it can help to take a more restorative approach with styles like Yin Yoga, Slow Flow Yoga or Hatha Yoga. When you try to push yourself through a more challenging class, this can cause further frustration and aggravation and this is by no means the purpose of your yoga!
During these times, coming back to basic movements and breathing can truly be nurturing, especially for those of you that have a more dynamic and regular practice. When we slow down to match how we are feeling, we can really start to appreciate the simplicity of just moving within your capabilities on that day.
Then there may be days when you are feeling full of fire and cannot seem to find stillness. Perhaps you have had a challenging day and you cannot seem to shake the negative energy that has left its residue. Then match your mood and move and transform this energy with a more dynamic practice such as Ashtanga Yoga or Vinyasa Flow. Use this to fuel your determination as you set your intention on releasing negative energy through a more flowing meditation. You will soon feel less and less agitated and a clear mind will replace confusion. Channelled in a constructive way, this type of energy can be a source of positive changes and transformation but if it has no outlet, it can tend to disperse in all directions and can be destructive both to yourself and those around you.
There may even be some days where you might be in a more contemplative mood, so you could make your physical practice a little shorter and move your intention to further your knowledge through reading, writing or meditating.
When you start to see your yoga as a way of expanding and developing yourself on all levels, you start to open up to the endless possibilities of connecting to this ancient and beautiful practice. Through accepting adaptation, we open ourselves up to breaking our habitual patterns and embracing the many facets of yoga.
Rebecca is a yoga teacher and studio manager at Yoga West in West London, offering a variety of classes to adapt your practice.