Over the last century, people from all walks of life are discovering how practicing yoga postures can be very beneficial. From lowering stress to managing back pain, many individuals are turning to yoga as a way to improve their life. However, there is one area in which yoga has truly supported people’s personal growth: self awareness.
Yoga is a practice that synchronizes mind and body. When the postures are done correctly, it can help you connect your breath to your body and its movements. This is very crucial for ones health and self improvement. However, practicing certain postures, whether in a studio or online, is much more than just attaining a certain position. It is also highly efficient at teaching us how self aware we are when we move.
There are different basic thinking frameworks for everyone who approaches yoga: some see posture accomplishment as an end in itself, a goal to be achieved while others use it as a tool for exploring and body opening. Instead of using the body to “reach” a posture, we use it to create an opening. The way we execute each posture is strongly influenced by the frame of thought we use.
According to yoga instructor Kirsty Davis from Yoga Training Guide, she suggests that students leave their egos at the door. Very often, individuals get caught up in their mind trying to reach a posture, rather than letting the posture teach them things they need to learn about themselves and their body.
Listen To Your Body
When we approach postures as part of specific objectives, we are less attentive to the messages that our body transmits to us. If our mind is primarily focused on an objective, the gap that separates us from where we are and where we would like to be can create tension and hinder movement.
We are exerting intense efforts and going too quickly instead of allowing the body to open at its own pace. Paradoxically, if our efforts are focused on the process and not on the end results, progress and openness manifest themselves naturally. We can approach the postures as if it were a fight, but this will limit our immediate opening and constitute a possible obstacle.
Progressing In Yoga
That we value “progress” is a fundamental aspect of human conditioning. Indeed, it is normal to feel joy when we see an improvement. Problems arise, however, when our practice is based only on results and not on the daily process of opening and producing energy. This dependence constitutes real obstacles to our practice.
You have certainly already noticed the cyclical aspect of your practice, that is, the continuous back and forth between the states of improvement and regression. This is partly related to the importance we place on achievements. We are driven by improvements as we continue to build on this.
As soon as our practice reaches a “plateau”, as is sometimes the case, all the energy we need to achieve this is used to maintain a certain level. A lack of interest can arise if the main objective of our practice is focused on our progress. As a result, we will be less willing to do yoga until our bodies close and we experience tension. We will then return to our practice to find a feeling of well-being until we reach, once again, another plateau.
Our intellectual qualities take on considerable importance during our yoga practice. In fact, the majority of the actual limits we face come from the mind, not the body. We believe we are limited by the lack of physical resistance and we believe that fatigue is a purely physical issue.
Many teachers have found that bodily fatigue does not occur first but that it is mental endurance that falters first. When the mind gets tired, our attention decreases and goes astray and the acuity to the messages transmitted by our body diminishes. We are therefore less attentive and our bodies tire more quickly.
Improving your yoga postures is very important. Not only because it can improve your health, but because it can teach you a level of self awareness about yourself that is essential to understand if you are dedicated towards your personal growth.