Being a yoga practitioner for over 8 years, I feel like I’ve come to the point, where I finally “know” what I am doing – I’ve done the main yoga asanas thousands of times, and I have “enough strength” to push my body to do more.
Is it a good thing?
This is what I’ve been asking myself this week, when I realized that most of the time my body feels beat up and I get into a vicious circle where I go to a yoga studio every day, and push myself every day. Then, at some point, I physically can’t do it anymore and I have to take a couple days off from going to the studio. Then if I miss 2 or 3 days of yoga, my body starts aching *for yoga* and I go back with full force and push myself again..
I’ve come to a sudden realization that I feel more sore, than strong. Even though I work hard, I do not feel that (much desired) strength in my body, and gaining strength is the “end goal” here, the whole point of pushing the body. Kinda catch 22, isn’t it?
In Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom B.K.S Iyengar, brings up this exact point, and he explains that this is a very common issue (especially with yoga teachers), as they open themselves and their bodies to teaching others, they literally over-stretch themselves very often if they don’t stay aware of their body and don’t work from their core.
Over-stretching occurs when one loses contact with one’s centre, with the divine core.
This (over-stretching) happens when we listen to our mind more than we listen to our body. We are driven by the ego, that says that we can do more, even when our body is already working over its capacity.
In a way, this is one of the reasons why we do yoga – so we learn when to push and when to stop.
How to avoid this:
As you are going through your asanas, you have to recharge your intellectual awareness all the time. (We have to stay present, 100% aware of our movements.) The attention must flow without interruption. The moment you collapse, you are not able to recharge, and the attention is disperse. If we are not 100% aware in our yoga asanas, then our movement becomes automatic, habitual (especially if you’ve been practicing for a while, and you know the poses, as I mentioned above). Your yoga becomes habitual, and not an invigorating, creative practice, as it intended to be.
The moment you bring attention to every inch of your body – as you move – you are creating energy.
Awareness allows us to overcome tiredness and exhaustion in our yoga asanas, and in life.
This week I invite you to think – am I pushing myself too hard, am I listening to my body or my mind. The way we do anything is the way we do everything. The chances are, if you are being driven by your ego on your yoga mat, you most likely do the same in your life. What do you think?
Keep moving. Be…. awareness.