When you’re on your Yoga mat, you’ll be contemplating in plenty of perspectives. Of course, Yoga prompts us to look deeply at ourselves and our actions, but we want to explore yogic personalities more than we want to examine or analyze. Self-improvement from yoga is more a result of self-acceptance than physical development.
Letting yourself be comfortable in a pose, whether you look fancy or not, means you’ve accepted yourself as you are, and that’s when you begin to grow. If we get obsessed with quantitative analysis, we lose touch with who we are when we’re doing our yoga. Just as downward dog can loosen our legs and awaken our senses by restoring blood flow through the thighs and calves, it won’t change our whole world.
When doing a pose, don’t think in terms of “right and wrong”; think “safe and comfortable” instead
There’s no need to beat yourself up about how you do a pose. In classes that I teach, I will often help a student adjust a pose so that they feel more comfortable. Most newbies think they are doing something wrong when they see me walk to them and will say something like: “Am I doing it right?” You can easily fall into the same patterns of self-criticism when practicing solo.
Letting your body do the talking
Take some of the deeper poses-backbends are a great example. Doing these poses safely requires a good amount of thinking while moving into each position. You have to chill your mind; rather than try to analyze every inch of movement, you need to listen to your body. Your mind certainly remains active, but it works as an observer. It listens to the messages your body sends and regulates your movement as permitted through your conscious actions.
The cobra pose (bhujangasana)is a classic back bend that has been a topic of controversy from time to time. Some yoga schools discouraged teachers from including this pose in classes due to numerous complaints from students about the pose causing back pain. Of course, we can learn how to protect our backs, on the yoga mat and everywhere else, by deliberately practicing back bends! If we bend our backs in a controlled manner, we learn what makes our back comfortable and what doesn’t, and we train our muscles to steer us to safety and comfort.
Slow cobra pose gets mastered and it can then be incorporated into a nice flowing vinyasa, such as the classic sun salutation (surya namaskar). This series warms you up and energizes all of your cakras and is a good foundational component of any personal yoga routine. Back bends can be done safely and can be modified to protect against aggravating any specific conditions a student may have.
Connect with your chakras
Your chakras are internal energy centers that reflect aspects of your personality and which are connected to your physical and emotional characteristics and conditions. Getting in touch with your chakras does mean getting more into examining yourself, but you should still take the approach of an explorer and not an analyst. What I boils down to is that you do make intelligible observations of how your yoga poses affect how you feel, but you do so without judging yourself as good or bad.
Get to know your chakras slowly. Start with your root chakra, also known as Muladhara. Have fun with it. As learn what each chakra does, you will discover yourself in a whole new way and will find new ways to address old issues. You’ll soon be able to build a yoga practice with poses that help balance the chakras that you need to bring back into balance.