Yoga has a funny way of making your body tell you exactly what you need on any given day. Sometimes it tells you that Savasana and supported bridge is a really, really great place to hang out, while other times it has you convinced that trying to make yourself fly in various arm balances and inversions is the way to go. Just like waves in the ocean, yoga is variable and ever changing, but it ultimately gives your body exactly what it needs as long as you are in tune with the signals.
When you stay committed to practicing yoga, you learn to push yourself when you need it, and surrender when the time is right, making sure to balance the two. For example, I have recently been practicing a ton of arm balances and inversions, and my focus has been on power and strength. Last week, I came down with a virus that seemed to suck all of my energy away, so I was faced with a dilemma. I still wanted to do yoga, but after attempting one crow pose and landing straight on my face, I realized that was not the right road to take. Instead, I hit up my old favorite, yogaglo.com, and did a stretchy, easier hatha class. At the end of it, I felt relaxed and rejuvenated – and I realized that it was the balance I needed to counter all of the strength and power I have been trying to cultivate.
You can’t argue with yoga. It will let you know if your muscles are way too exhausted for too many sun salutations, but it will also let you know when to spread your wings and try a new pose you never thought you could conquer. While it is always important to push your edge, there is a fine line between the gentle, pleasant pain of advancing your practice, and the unpleasant pain of exhaustion and danger of injury. The beauty of yoga is that there is something for every person, every mood, and every energy level. Honor this, and yoga will become an important ally that will always guide your body into the positions it needs the most.
You wouldn’t jump into 5-foot waves if you were too exhausted to swim, and you wouldn’t float around with swimmies on, in still water, if your body was craving the adventure and power of surfing. Listen to the signals your body gives you, and build your practice or seek out a class to match those signals as closely as possible, and you will find that yoga rarely, if ever, disappoints.