I am five weeks into my yoga teacher training and learning so much not only about my own practice but how the body works and how the yoga postures work. The more time I spend on my own mat the more I’m building my sequences and working through what works for me and what doesn’t. Not that everything that works for me will work for others but it gives me a good sense of what someone might be feeling. I also really use the experiences of the other women in my training. For instance we were talking about Warrior I and how when she does this pose and adds a slight back bend in it, her back really doesn’t feel very well. I don’t have back pain, have never struggled with back pain, and unless I’m in flare I really don’t give much notice to my back so I had to get on my mat and try to imagine at what point one of my students might notice some discomfort in their back. It is so amazing to really start analyzing the body, the moves, the postures, the good and the bad and come up with something that might work for most people.
I spend a lot of time noticing people modifying in weight training, Insanity classes, and yoga classes. I do modifications in my classes as well so it is important to show different modifications as well as what the final posture should look like and let others use their bodies the best way they can to do the postures without compromise. With each posture there are several ways to modify and some might feel really easy, some might need to start in modification postures and move slowly into full postures, some may never reach the final posture and that is ok too. I think of Insanity and doing high knees for me. That high intensity trying to get my knee hip level doesn’t work for me and so I modify that move by bringing one knee up and then the other but not in a fast, intense movement but a controlled movement. My range of motion is much better, my posture is much better, and my body isn’t exerting unnecessary energy doing something that could potential hurt me if done wrong. Same can be said about yoga postures.
There seems to be more focus on people getting hurt during yoga classes and if we think about what is happening we can see how this could be true. We are trying to combine kickboxing with yoga, or we are trying to power through our yoga flows and classes to the deepest, intensity we can muster. As I spend time on my mat I am really starting to see the benefit in slow moving through my postures and really feeling what my body is doing. Sometimes I think I can go farther and in yoga millimeters can be enough progression. I will move slowly into deeper postures and then back out to a more comfortable posture. My body is working hard, my mind is working hard, and my breath is the power to help me reach deeper. Yoga is about reaching new places on the mat and seeing where your body is tight, where it can relax, where does it need to push a little, where do you need to pull back, where are you holding tension, where can you let go, what feels good, what is discomfort and making adjustments.
Take this philosophy off the mat and we constantly need to evaluate where we are in life, where we are in this moment and do we need to adjust. Many times throughout my day I need to step back, adjust, start again and even try a new focus. In life I need millimeters of change not grand changes to make really changes.