Are you pushing too hard in yoga practice?
Are you pushing too hard in yoga?
In Yoga we often talk about going to your edge. Finding that space where you are working at your fullest capacity. For some people, it’s difficult to know where this line is. If you have an ‘A type” personality who is used to pushing through life to get where you want to go – it can be a challenge to know when to ease off in your practice.
Even though most of the sessions I teach at the studio these days are gentle hatha classes it is still possible to go too far. Lots of people who come to my classes arrive with injuries or mobility issues that have piled up over years of inactivity. Life can often get in the way and before you know it years have gone by. We get used to rushing around and doing things at light speed and then moving on down the list to whatever is next. The time to stop and smell the roses seems to be getting farther and farther away.
The longer this goes on the harder it can be to slow down. The harder it is to slow down the harder it is to hear your body. So how do you know when you are pushing too hard? How do you know when your body is saying enough if you are still stuck up in your head?
One of the biggest indicators of pushing beyond your body’s limits is of course pain. It is the way our body screams at us. If you can imagine your body penning an email to you – this message would be entirely in caps! It’s been softly whispering for however long and you haven’t heard it so now all sirens are wailing!
Another way to notice is your breath! Over the last few years I have noticed myself that when I twist a certain way I can not find my breath. For years I have been doing these twists but only recently realized that muscling through it was not helping my body in the way I wanted to be helping. I can make my body look similar to the instructors but that’s not what benefits my body the most. So now I do my twists in a way that I can feel my body responding. I can still breath deeply and I am at my edge.
I fully understand how hard it can be to keep your focus on your breath in class. The mind is racing. You are replaying your day. You are thinking about what’s for dinner.
I invite you to notice the subtle nuances of your version of pushing too hard. It might not look the same as mine and that’s okay. Each day that you can connect in deeper with your body and your breath is a damn fine day!