Over the past couple of years I got faced with hormonal changes and other ailments due to radical changes in my everyday life. I struggled with my "new" body and well known Yoga practice and it kept me from keeping it alive. Here are some insights that helped me along the way. Hoping something will inspire you to re-asses your current Yoga practice if need be.
Allowing your yoga practice to evolve and support you in every stage of life is crucial for its sustainability and effectiveness. Here are some key principles to keep in mind:
Embrace change: Recognize that your body, mind, and circumstances will naturally change as you progress through different stages of life. Be open to embracing these changes and adapting your practice accordingly. Modify poses, adjust the intensity, or explore different styles that align with your current needs and capabilities.
Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body's cues and honor its limitations. Respect any injuries, physical conditions, or changes in flexibility and strength. Modify poses, use props for support, and choose variations that are appropriate for your body. By listening to your body, you can avoid pushing yourself too hard or risking injury.
Prioritize self-care: Understand that self-care is an essential aspect of a lifelong yoga practice. As you navigate different life stages, your responsibilities and priorities may shift. Make time for self-care practices, such as restorative yoga, meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), or other activities that nurture your well-being.
Adjust the duration and intensity: Be flexible with the duration and intensity of your practice. Some days, you may have more time and energy for a longer and more vigorous practice, while on other days, a shorter and gentler session may be more appropriate. Listen to your body and adjust the length and intensity of your practice accordingly.
Cultivate mindfulness and presence: Use your yoga practice as a means to cultivate mindfulness and presence in each moment. Connect with your breath, observe sensations in your body, and bring awareness to your thoughts and emotions. This mindfulness will help you stay present in your practice and adapt to the ever-changing nature of life.
Seek guidance and inspiration: Continuously seek guidance and inspiration from experienced teachers, workshops, books, or online resources. Engage in ongoing learning to deepen your understanding of yoga and explore new perspectives. This continuous learning will inspire and inform your practice.
Explore different styles and modalities: Be open to exploring different styles of yoga and complementary modalities that can support your practice at different stages of life. Consider incorporating practices such as restorative yoga, yin yoga, gentle yoga, meditation, breathwork, or mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques. Experiment with what resonates with you and brings balance to your life.
Practice off the mat: Remember that yoga extends beyond the physical practice on the mat. Apply the principles of yoga, such as compassion, mindfulness, and non-judgment, to your daily life. Cultivate self-awareness, mindfulness, and conscious living in your interactions, relationships, and decision-making. Let your yoga practice be a guiding force in all aspects of your life.
Stay connected to your intentions: Revisit and reaffirm your intentions for your yoga practice as you go through different stages of life. Regularly reflect on why you practice yoga and how it aligns with your values and goals. This connection to your intentions will provide a sense of purpose and direction, helping you embrace the changes and challenges of life.
Be kind to yourself: Practice self-compassion and self-acceptance throughout your yoga journey. Embrace the imperfections, celebrate small achievements, and let go of judgment or comparison. Approach your practice with love, patience, and a sense of curiosity. Remember that your yoga practice is unique to you, and it's about the journey, not just the destination.
By allowing your yoga practice to evolve and adapt to each stage of life, you can create a sustainable and supportive practice that nurtures your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Embrace the changes, listen to your body, and let your practice be a source of growth, balance, and empowerment throughout your life.