When you think of stretching and hitting your "best" Warrior 1, you're probably not thinking about the perfect alignment of all your body parts. In the beginning, it's more likely you're just doing your best to keep up and trying to figure out what the heck Warrior 1 even is! Flinging and forcing your body into seemingly unnatural positions can discourage you from continuing and, what's worse, you could seriously injure yourself if you are practicing improperly over time.
If you’ve ever felt slightly injured or in pain after a yoga practice than there is something wrong.
Yoga should feel GOOD.
Yoga should help you feel Stronger, more Free and Balanced.
When I first started practicing yoga I was taking a lot of classes from a lot of different teachers. Some days I would see so many students doing the poses with horrible alignment and no real mindfulness in the practice.
I would think to myself:
“Isn't the teacher going to SAY anything to these people?!”
Coming from a background in dance my gauge for what's helpful or harmful in the body was pretty high already and working as a massage therapist, it was so obvious to me the way these people were practicing was actually making their posture and pain problems worse!
That was about the time I decided to become an instructor that would help guide my students into yoga poses safely and with correct alignment. I wanted to teach people to practice yoga in a way that would HELP them Feel Better, not cause them more harm in the long run. That is why I take things slow and with so much care when I teach and in my own personal practice!
Yoga has SO many benefits. I cannot even begin to list them all here because you would be reading this for days.
So I'll keep it short and sweet:
My major takeaway from yoga is that it can Correct Posture and Relieve Chronic Pain if done slowly and correctly. The goal is to PREVENT injury so that we don’t have to RECOVER from it.
My primary tip for Beginners and even Pro’s is:
Don’t try to LOOK perfect,
try to FEEL your best!
Always do what feels good for your body.
Stiff-Beginner-Syndrome is similar to Deer-in-the-Headlights.
You are so intimidated by the pretzels folding on the mat next to you that you 1. Freeze, 2. Panic, 3. Compare Yourself, 4. Do your best to contort in some shape that seems to be "like everyone else".
Have you ever felt this way? If so, here are 5 tips to "nail" every yoga pose:
Back Off! If you ever find yourself starting to feel pain in any pose, back out of it to the point that you are no longer hurting. Sometimes yoga can "hurt so good", but it should never be outright Painful. Be patient with the process and allow your body to ease into poses and always respect your body's boundaries.
Breathe! Breath is one of the most fundamental components of what makes yoga yoga. No matter what style of class you're taking, your instructors will all be guiding you to connect with your breath. If you ever find yourself pushing so far into a pose that your breath cannot freely move, it's time to ease out of it until you can comfortably reconnect to your breathing.
Listen to your Body! A yoga instructor's job is to guide and assist you through your practice, but ultimately, no one knows what's best for your body better than you do. One of the truly magical parts of yoga is that it offers you an opportunity to have that conversation with yourself about what feels good; about what's a "yes" and what's a "no".
Trust Yourself! Seriously. Trust in the wisdom of your body. Your body will tell you when it's okay to push a little farther or hold a little longer and when it's time to take a break. Then you have to HONOR what your body is asking for. Trust yourself to give yourself exactly what you need.
Ask for Help! If you are unsure about what's supposed to be going on in a certain pose, check in with your instructor after class. Yoga teachers love getting to know their students and if they know what you're working on, they may be able to give you extra assistance in future classes.
In the end, YOU become your best teacher. That's what the whole yoga journey is all about; coming into Relationship with Yourself.
UNION with the DIVINE essence within You.
And so we say, "Namaste".
The Teacher and Student in me, honors and bows
to the Teacher and Student in you.