I have no doubt that yoga changes peoples lives...you just gotta know how to use it right.I would largely blame the westernized yoga world for the birth of the influencer age. Taking 20-30yr olds and pumping them into teacher training that has pretty basic requirements (a mere 20hrs of 200hrs dedicated to anatomy and physiology), and placing them at the head of classes encouraging them with the social standard of addressing the room with their reflections on life and how it relates to the art of yoga while leading them through a purely physical practice sums up social media pretty well.
Yikes. Because of this, I think it is essential to understand some of the primary uses of physical practice and how the breath can further facilitate mental and physical changes for us.
Recognizing our "main" problem is what often drags us into yoga in the first place. Usually, it is one of two things...
WHERE DO YOU HOLD STRESS & HOW TIGHT ARE YOUR MUSCLES
Yoga and the search for flexibility is an exploration of how we feel inside our bodies.
Tight muscles are weak muscles, yet we often decide to try and stretch them before we work on strengthening them. Yoga is appealing for that because there is a ton of emphasis on creating length and movement in the muscles in various ways.
Yoga can become a home to the body by creating an environment in which you are free to explore the areas you hold tension, how it feels to release those areas, and how practical the breath can be as you work through them. On a more subtle note, you are developing a different kind of strength than you may be used to. But it is in regular and consistent practice that we begin to endure our bodies and learn about the subtlety of movement and its effects on us.
This is one of the paths to the mastery of yourself.
POSTURES HAVE DIFFERENT EFFECTS
There are 5 types of posture in yoga:
(anytime the front side of the body moves closer in direction to the top/bottom front side you have a forward bend)
(anytime the back side of the body moves closer in direction to the top/bottom back side you have a backward bend)
(anytime the right/left side of the body moves closer to the its respective side in a bending fashion you have a lateral bend)
(anytime that you have rotation in the spine where the right and left side of the body moves further away from each other)
(anytime that the arms and legs are extending away from the torso, ie downward dog)
Each of these postures has varying effects on the body, and though there are some pretty good rules, it doesn't mean that they are hard and fast. Depending on the state of your nervous system, each posture may affect you differently. But let's chat about what you will probably expect in different poses.
FORWARD BENDS - Calming
BACKWARD BENDS - Energizing
LATERAL BENDS - Balancing
TWISTS - Calming
AXIAL EXTENSION - Balancing
An extension of these would also be:
SUPINE - Calming
PRONE - Energizing
STANDING - Energizing
It is essential to remember that these are general rules to pay attention to. Still, it is insightful for you to recognize how the postures affect you personally.
TIMES OF DAY HAVE DIFFERENT EFFECTS
Yoga practices can be described in three ways:
BRAHMANA - These are the early stages of life or the sunrise years. This also gives you a good indicator of what time of day these practices are best used. Brahmana practices include standing poses, backbends, axial extensions, and prone positions with less twisting and forward folds.
SAMANA - This is known as middle stage of the life, think 30-60 years old. These practices would be excellent for lunchtime yoga sessions. Still emphasized on building energy in the body while simultaneously creating balance with more calming postures towards the end.
LANGHANA - This is known as the sunset years of life or of the day. A Langhana practice is there to calm the body from the day and provide routine maintenance, if you will, in preparation for sleep or often in the yoga world, they talk about it as use for end-of-life preparation. These practices nurture the body.
I was many years into my yoga practice before I learned these basic principles of how practices affect the body and mind. When I take the time to reflect and look at the journey of yoga, I can see that the challenges I ran into along the lines of anxiety, sleep, and injuries could have largely been prevented if I had known these things.
We do not always walk out of yoga feeling at peace and blissed-out; sometimes, that is ok. However, it is likely a more significant issue if you consistently find yourself uncomfortable inside of yoga practice. Therefore, I would encourage you always to reach out, and we can chat about what might and might not be working for you or even discuss what beginning a practice can look like.
There are many options, and yoga is accessible to everyone. So whether you want a fifteen-minute calming practice or one that burns some fire for an hour, we can find what works for you. Remember that there are many tools out there to live your best life. Let's educate ourselves and find the ones that work for us.
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Being a Woman. Recovery for Athletes. Life Experience. Movement. And Martial Arts.