In todays “go go go” society it seems all to often that our yoga practice can be just as driven and goal oriented. In my hometown of Austin I’m amazed to see more power yoga and sweaty yoga studios opening every year. Ultimately if the market supports this then who am I to questions it. However coming from a background of therapeutics and seeing the benefits of a balanced yoga practice I wonder just how healthy this movement is.
I am not immune to the effects of being part of a society of doers and makers and tend to work hard and I also enjoy a challenging yoga class. A recent injury to my rotator cuff has caused me to step back, slow down and inspect my own practice. One of the motions that tend to aggravate my shoulder is caturanga dandasana. This is a highly used asana in yoga that demands a tremendous amount of stability and strength in the core and shoulder girdle and if done incorrectly can cause damage to the wrists, elbow and rotator cuff.
It is this posture that bring to mind the important teaching of ahimsa which means non-violence. A healthy yoga practice should always honor the sacredness of the body and mind and use anasa as a tool to self -awareness and health. This may mean finding alternatives to our favorite muscle toning postures or stopping at our limits even if the person next to you in class does not have that same limitation.
So next time you are in a yoga class, be it sweaty or not, don’t forget to listen to your body when it tells you what it needs even if your ego is driving you towards the “ultimate” pose because in reality there is no such thing. There is only your practice as it is right now which is wonderful! Plus having the presence of mind to know your own limitations demonstrates a mature practitioner, who truly understands and embodies the practice of yoga, which is the harmoniously union the body and mind.
“You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality.”
– Florida Scott Maxwell
Based out of Austin Texas, Anna teaches Yoga and offers therapeutic massage. She is interested in Zen-Buddhism and the spiritual journey that yoga offers. Check out her blog for inspirations, teaching on yoga, educational information about the body and interesting stuff that she comes across out there in the world.