When you don’t want to practice is sometimes when it’s most important to get on your mat

Yoga is great! I love it so much and it’s a fundamental part of my day and my life.  Most of the time I enjoy practicing and am happy to get on my mat but it’s unrealistic to think that would I always want to practice. Sometimes I don’t.

Most people don’t experience this when they first start practicing as at this point you are still discovering how amazing it is. Obviously, there are times when not practicing is the right choice. If you are ill for instance. Most of the time however, these are the best practices. They are the ones you need and benefit from the most.

Helen practicing a yoga forward bend

Photograph by Nata Moraru

Yoga has a multitude of benefits that go beyond the general improvements in your health and wellbeing. It is a practice that teaches you to connect with yourself, your body and your mind as they are. This can be incredibly transformational but sometimes you don’t want to see things as they are. Sometimes you want to distract yourself from it and this. I guess this is one of the reasons drinking alcohol and watching tv are such popular pastimes.

Ashtanga yoga is traditionally practiced 6 days a week, which is how I practice. This means I practice on good days and bad. I respect that it is not possible or practical for everyone to commit to practicing daily. What is good then is to commit to the days that you do practice so that you don’t just practice when you feel like it. If you do that you miss out on the opportunity to bring your mind back when it’s distracted, to learn to accept your mind even when it’s chaotic, to accept your body when it’s not at it’s best and to give yourself the practice when it needs it most.

Life isn’t always easy and your yoga practice should reflect that. We practice when we are happy, sad, in love, angry, lonely, lost and busy.  Yoga practice isn’t about perfection it’s about being present with whatever you are experiencing at the time.

If my mind is feeling particularly busy, I just take my practice one breath at a time. I let my mind do whatever it is up to. I don’t judge it but whenever it wanders, I just bring it back to my breath. Without fail, in all the years of doing this, I have always been grateful that I practiced.

Do you practice yoga when you don’t want to? How has it helped you?

Some poses may take a while but what you learn along the way will be more valuable than achieving them

Some of the yoga poses took me 5 years or more of daily practice before I could do them. This surprises some of my students when I tell them. Typically it comes up when they start to feel frustrated that they still can’t do x y z. They say something like “I have been working at this for ages and I still can’t do it”. It often turns out that ages is actually a few months.

Marichyasana D - was very challenging for me, it took about 5 years I think

Marichyasana D – was very challenging for me, it took about 5 years I think

I get that they are frustrated, I have been there. We live in a world that changes fast. When you first start practicing yoga you will see big changes in your flexibility and strength. The more you practice the more you will see these shifts will continue but may become more subtle at times. It’s not that the body isn’t changing, it’s just that some of these poses ask a lot and require lots of gradual shifts; and if it is skill and/or strength orientated it also requires lots and lots of repetition.

Many people are more flexible than I was when I began my yoga journey but I was never very tight either. Having taught hundreds of people over the years I would say I was about average.

When I began my Ashtanga journey 11 years ago I looked at many of the poses and wondered how they were even possible for anyone let alone me. I sneaked a look at second series and thought it was something that was beyond my body, I never imagined that I would be practicing full second series as I am now. As such I never imaged I would learn third series but it is now pretty much inevitable that I will begin that journey at some point. My body continues to amaze me and yours can too.

Helen doing yoga pose supta kurmasana

Supta Kurmasana – sleeping tortoise took about 7 years before I could do this without help

Over the years more things became possible. I came to realize with consistent practice my body would change. Sometimes it feels like no changes are happening and then all of a sudden there is a big shift. It’s easy to get obsessed with achieving asana which, as I said in my last post, is just another form of spiritual materialism. Over the years I realized that my life didn’t change that much when I managed to get into an asana. I also learnt that although obsessing over achieving asana is unnecessary I have to care a little bit in order to do a challenging practice. If I don’t care at all then I don’t take myself to my edge and miss out on many of the wonderful lessons which that brings to my life. So you need some striving and some surrender and along the way you learn the valuable skills of patience and humility.

In all honesty I can often help a student to get there a little quicker than I did myself. I have learnt a lot along the way which I can now share. The important part however is never how long it takes to get there but what you learn along the way.

Enjoy your journey…

Are there any yoga poses that you once thought were impossible that you can now do? What has working toward a yoga pose taught you about yourself or life?

Is Yoga Photography Inspiring or Intimidating? You Decide…

Last month I did my first Instagram yoga challenge. The challenge involved having a photograph of myself taken in a yoga pose from the second series, for each day of the month. The challenge was organised and hosted by Ashtanga Dispatch who gave us a pose for each day of the month. I did every pose but sometimes had to post multiple photos on one day, as I didn’t always have a photographer handy.

karandavasana

A hugely physical pose that requires not just strength but the presence of mind to control the movement. I can land this but alas can not come back up yet…..Photograph by Nata Moraru.

I am not shy in general, but I do feel a bit self conscious about sharing photographs of myself doing yoga. I decided to do the challenge partly to take myself out of my comfort zone and to examine this resistance. It was challenging at times. I practice yoga 6 days a week so doing the pose wasn’t really the challenging part. Don’t get me wrong, some of the poses are really challenging, but I am used to that and I know I can only do what my body will allow on any given day. What was challenging was sharing that photograph out into the world regardless of how I felt emotionally that day. Yes it’s true. Yoga teachers are not perfect human robots and sometimes they feel vulnerable or well just about anything, because we are not robots!

Why the resistance to yoga photography?

Yoga to me is about so much more than the yoga positions themselves. I sometimes think people get a bit caught up in the physical dimension of the practice and they think that the most advanced yogi is the one who is the strongest and most flexible. I don’t think social media has helped this and there are a lot of photographs of thin people, scantily dressed, doing advanced yoga moves. As a woman I have mixed feelings about this. I think women should be able to wear short shorts and crop tops if that’s what they feel comfortable in. What gets corrupted though is that it sometimes feels like people are showing beautiful thin bodies in order to advertise yoga. Now I have no doubt that yoga can help people who need to loose weight to attain that, but I see this as a secondary almost incidental gain. Yoga can give you so much more. It can help you become more at ease with who you are right now. It can help you to experience life more fully. It is not some kind of secret club for the young skinny and beautiful.

Are yoga picture inspiring or intimidating?

yoga-nidrasana

It looks so easy but it took years and years of daily practice. Yoga Nidrasana which means yogi sleep pose. Photograph by Nata Moraru.

This is up to you. When you see an image of someone in an advanced position what do you think? You might think they have crazy genes and they were born bendy. I would say my own genetic flexibility is average, but because I have done yoga since I was 17, my body has become more flexible over the years. Now at 35, I am more flexible than I can ever remember being and this is due to a dedicated daily practice 6 days a week. When you see the photo you can’t always see the story behind the pose. The daily journey from not being able to do something to doing it everyday, the impossible can become possible, but sometimes it takes years. By challenging yourself you will learn a great deal about yourself, so it is my hope that such photographs inspire you to do so. It is also my hope that you don’t feel the need to become anything other than more like yourself. We all have physical limits. Challenge your own, but enjoy where you are too. An advanced yoga pose may not change your life in the way you expect. Surrendering to where you are whilst always gently pushing against your own limitations will teach you so much more.

Why I have come to like Instagram as a social media channel

Uth-pluthi-Helen

Finding time for a cheeky smile. Photograph by Nata Moraru.

The thing I like most about Instagram is that I can write a couple of paragraphs to accompany my photographs. I know it’s primarily a photo sharing site and not everyone will read something, but it’s nice to be able to share more of the journey or to give some tips on the yoga positions as well as a micro blog about other aspects of my life. That way it feels less narcissistic and more of a useful service. Despite all my misgivings about sharing photographs of myself in yoga poses, it has been nice to share more of what I do on my mat with both friends and students. There is a whole lot more going on than the yoga positions themselves, but I can hopefully share that by who I am as a person. I endeavour to do so. Meanwhile yoga pictures are a visual way of me sharing more of myself, and what I do on my mat. I hope you find them useful. You can see the rest of the photographs on my Instagram account here.  All these photographs by my student Nata Moraru.

What do you think about yoga photographs?

How accepting life as it is will allow you to experience it more fully

Not all that you experience in life will seem positive. How you deal with it, how you think about it afterwards, how you encode your experiences will determine how positively you feel about them. One definition of suffering is expecting your experience to be different from what it is. Everything occurs in the present moment. There is no past or future, only now, and everything that is possible to exist exists right now. It is only possible for you to experience right now, so whatever is happening, it is important to start by accepting it all for what it is. Failing to accept the present, or actively trying to avoid it, can cause suffering. This is true whether you experience something that is out of your direct control, or just think harshly of yourself, like that you are not living up to your own expectations.

My yoga practice has taught me a lot about this. The other week I went through this process and it was both interesting and transformational for me personally so I thought I would share it here in case you case you can find a way to let it help you redefine your experience of the present into a more positive one.

The reason yoga can be really transformational in this way is that when we connect with our breath and practice yoga positions with awareness we are practicing being present. This sometimes brings down defenses that we may have set up to help us avoid the present moment. If you have ever had this experience in yoga, you possibly didn’t want to practice that day. This is why a regular consistent practice, however often you personally can mange it is so important. Sometimes it’s the days when you think you don’t want to practice that you stand to gain the most benefit from it.

As I practiced, I noticed I was feeling a bit fed up. I breathed and observed this feeling, and realized that I was frustrated that I was not living up to my own expectations in one specific area of my life. I realized that although I may be able to change the future this is how things stood right now. I learned to accept this real version of myself instead of the one I thought it should be.

I find that as I practice acceptance and move through my practice there is a shift in the feeling. As I accept it, it loses it’s power over me and I become more present and experience it for what it is – and it really isn’t that bad after all.

My next step in this case was to discover how I could work on this aspect of myself. It led to some really positive changes for me. Sometimes you can’t change a problem so accepting it is all that is necessary. As you learn to accept life as it is, you experience each moment more fully and realize how amazing life really is.

Much of this can be simplified in the following Buddhist quote

“If something can be remedied
Why be unhappy about it?
And if there is no remedy for it,
There is still no point in being unhappy.”
Shatideva

How has yoga helped you to accept yourself, just as you are?

How working on that seemingly impossible yoga pose will enhance your life

Yoga can sometimes be challenging. Really – it’s like that for everyone. I know you maybe weren’t sold it that way. You were led to believe it was all peace, light and relaxation and it is, but sometimes it’s hard too.

We all face challenges in our yoga practice. You may think you’re the only one, that you are special and nobody else has it as hard as you do, I am sure, but we all have our challenges. Challenges on the yoga mat aren’t usually as hard as the challenges we can face in life. Yoga can be hard but life is sometimes harder still. What do you do when you can’t do something, how does it make you feel, what do you do about it? So you can’t touch your toes, grab your big toe, bind your hands together, jump back, whatever it is. Or maybe the challenge is getting on your mat in the first place; maybe you don’t feel like it, maybe that’s the best day to practice.

Helen doing yoga pose supta kurmasana

Supta Kurmasana – sleeping tortoise a challenging yoga pose which became possible after years of dedication

It doesn’t really matter if you can do fancy yoga poses although sometimes yogis get so obsessed with asana that they forget this. Yes, I have been there too. What matters is how you learn to embrace the impossible, can you work at something again and again that you can’t do. If you can manifest this attitude on your yoga mat can you bring this new skill into your life? If you can do this, and of course you can (I believe in you every step of the way), then imagine how much more you can achieve. Maybe you won’t manage to do all of the things you set out to achieve but I suspect that not only will you achieve more than you ever imagined possible but somewhere along the way you will realize that the journey is way more important than the destination. You will find that being willing to step into the space of what you deem impossible, gradually, carefully yet consistently, gives life more color and possibilities. Yoga has taught me so much patience and perseverance I sometimes feel unstoppable.

How you can to face the impossible on your yoga mat

• Practice, this is the most important one. Practice often and just appreciate that there are poses you can’t do yet.
• Avoid getting overwhelmed; choose a maximum of 3 yoga poses to work on in any session.
• If you are going to repeat a yoga pose, do it a maximum of 3 times, if you have done it 3 times move on with your day.
• Work out what is making this challenging for you in the pose, if in doubt ask your teacher for guidance, maybe some other poses can help.
• Keep your sense of humour and perspective. People are not going to love you more or less depending on your ability to do this pose. Achieving it will not perceivably change you or your life. It is far more important who you are in the moment – and for that, the journey and the humility you learn are much more important.
• Do go easy on yourself in those times when you fail, just showing up is enough.
• You may feel resistance, acknowledge it but don’t let it control you.
• Listen to your body, this isn’t about doing more than you can, it’s about safely exploring your current limitations, safely and consistently.

Have you faced the impossible on your yoga mat? How has this helped you in your life?

Teaching from experience. Why practicing yoga every day is important to my teaching

I practice yoga six days a week. As a yoga teacher I feel this is essential for me. I understand not all yoga teachers do this and that I am very fortunate to have the time to do so.

I find there are a number of myths among yoga students about yoga teachers and their yoga practice. So here is my insider view from my own perspective.

Myth one : Don’t you know it all?

Ha ha! Nope. Thanks for your faith in me but I will never know it all. Physically, philosophically and spiritually, yoga is a vast subject. No one person in the world knows it all and I am no exception. There is always more to learn….

Myth two : Are there yoga poses that you can’t do?

There are many yoga poses that I can’t do and I am grateful for that. I find working on a challenging yoga pose teaches me a great deal about myself and is a great way to develop my sense of being in the here and now.

Myth three: Aren’t you doing yoga all day when you are teaching?

Yoga teaching and practicing are entirely different activities. When I teach my focus is external. I am looking at my students. I tend not to demonstrate that much as a teacher. This is because I can’t see my students when I am demonstrating and I can’t help them. Sometimes a visual cue is necessary and helpful. When I do demonstrate a yoga pose in class I am still not really practicing yoga. I am talking to the class checking they understand and checking they are okay. My focus is not on my breath my focus is on my students. So I still need time to focus on my own practice.

I learn from this yoga practice. By practicing daily I practice on days when I really don’t want to. I watch my inner resistance and I learn to be with it. Teaching requires me to give from myself. When I teach I give everything I have in that moment, it’s a full-hearted effort. I am there for my students in whatever way I can be, in that moment. My yoga practice helps me stoke my own fire so that I can give more.

My yoga practice helps me to be a better teacher. It helps me to be more present when I teach. It helps me to be aware of my body when I adjust. It helps me to remember what is like to find something challenging. It teaches me what it is like to be a student. It reminds me why I love yoga so much.

For all these reasons and more, I practice yoga daily. My students inspire me to do so through their own dedication and I am grateful to them and my practice for all that yoga gives.

Do you ever practice yoga when you don’t feel like it? Do you think it’s important for a yoga teacher to have a regular yoga practice themselves? Share your thoughts.

Great Expectations – Going with the flow at Christmas

Christmas is coming… are you filled with joy, excitement, or maybe a mixture of many feelings. Christmas means different things to different people, and this can lead to very different expectations. It can be a day for families to come together and yet for some it can make them feel even more alone. Whatever your perspective or situation it is important not to place too high an expectation on this one day of many but instead to live each day as fully as you can. It can be a day of giving, of sharing or feeling like you’ll never have enough or of feeling like you have too much. It is a day of excesses. Everything is heightened and yet it is just a day….and like every other day, for all our hopes and dreams about it, we do not have complete control over it or the people we share it with.

Helen practicing yoga in the snow

Yoga in the snow

People are often amazed that I practice yoga even on Christmas day. For me I feel I need yoga on this day of all days to ground me to help me see each moment for what it is. To help me to see what other people may be asking of me. To help me to be not in my idea of how this day should be but in the actual moment as it unravels. I get many benefits from my yoga practice but the most important one for me is to train my mind to be more present. I practice this awareness on the yoga mat but I also bring it off the yoga mat into every aspect of my life. Yoga helps me immensely to embody each moment. Sure I have days where I get on the mat and my mind is totally distracted. I have days where my mind is so distracted that my yoga mat is the last place I want to be but those days of overstimulation are when I need yoga the most. I just take it one breath at a time.

Practicing yoga at Christmas time can seem selfish – how you can find the time

When your around your friends and your family it can seem strange or selfish to disappear for an hour or so to practice yoga. Is it really though? I feel I can be of much more use to others if I have practiced yoga. I am fortunate in that my friends and family understand that I practice yoga daily, that it is part of who I am. That said, if I feel like it is conflicting with their day I will discuss it with them. I can be flexible (pun intended) about when I practice. If you feel your friends and family do not want you to practice yoga talk to them about it. Tell them why it is important for you to find this time to practice yoga and the benefits you get from it. Be flexible, make your practice shorter, find somewhere out of other people’s way or practice at another time of day when others are busy or before they get up. Who knows they may even want to join you…

As the day unravels keep an open mind if you feel disappointed is it because you are comparing reality to your expectation of what you think reality should be. If you are dissagreeing with someone else are you taking the time to understand where they are coming from? If you are having a conversation with someone are you really listening? Of course with all the yoga in the world conflict can still arise life can be as challenging as it can be delightful. Yoga can give you some tools and some space to experience each moment more fully.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Please share below how yoga helps you through the festive season.

 

Foam rollers offer an affordable solution for home massage. Which foam roller should you buy?

Many of my students know I am am a fan of foam rollers. They offer an affordable way to massage yourself at home regularly.

What is a foam roller?

My foam roller collection

My foam roller collection

A foam roller in the traditional sense is a roll of foam. You roll your body on it to massage your muscles and fascia. When you find a tight spot you can either hold for 30 seconds to a minute or you can friction gently moving from side to side. They are a great compliment to a yoga practice.

I have 3 foam rollers, a quadballer, a tennis ball and two recently purchased rumble roller balls. This is a real massage arsenal which I use almost every day for 5 -15 minutes. I use them on different areas of the body depending on where needs work. At the moment I have been doing a lot of long distance cycling and the foam roller has been a godsend for my quadriceps after a long hilly ride.

The humble foam roller

Strandard foam roller

Strandard foam roller

This is a traditional foam roller and was my first foam roller. The benefits of this foam roller are that it is cheaper and less hard, so good if you have a lot of tightness and don’t like your massage too deep. They are usually quite long which doesn’t make them a good travel option. You can now buy smaller ones. For massage purposes I think the larger size is unnecessary but the larger foam roller makes a good prop for some stretches. Another thing to consider when buying a foam roller like this is that they will eventually loose their density, usually in the middle and then loose their effectiveness and need to be replaced.

The grid

The grid by Trigger Point Therapy

The grid by Trigger Point Therapy

The grid is my middle of the road roller, it is firmer than the traditional foam roller and has grid-like grooves to get in a little deeper. I use it almost every day. I find it great to use to check in and see what areas are tight. After a 50 mile bike ride, the thought of using the rumble roller, (see below) on  my quads makes me want to run for the hills, so I usually use this first. If they are really tight then I will use this for a couple days first. The grid is small and hallow so is great for travel, you can just put some things inside it.

The rumble roller

Rumble roller

Rumble roller

This as far as I know is the big daddy of foam rollers and it looks like it! The rumble roller comes in two densities blue and black. This black one is the firmest one. I bought it because it was introduced to me by one of my students, Tony, and I discovered that I could get into areas that I knew to be tight but couldn’t be released by the grid anymore. The spikes aren’t sharp. They go into you like the the fingers of a masseur would. It can be intense but as with any of the foam rollers you can control how deep you go by how much weight you put on it. I have had excellent results with the rumble roller. I use it daily in combination with the grid. If I had to have only one foam roller I would personally choose this one. On my current trip to London to see my yoga teacher the rumble roller was one of the first things packed.

The quadballer

Quadballer by Trigger point therapy

Quadballer by Trigger point therapy

Not exactly a foam roller this is made by the same company as the grid and designed for the quads. It’s shape and density means it goes deeper than a foam roller however I now prefer the rumble roller and rarely use it.

The humble tennis ball

Want to start doing some self massage but not sure? The tennis ball is cheap and is great for getting into small specific points like the hips. A fantastic tool.

The rumble roller balls

Rumble roller balls

Rumble roller balls

These are made by the same company as the rumble roller and similarly mean business! I have been discussing buying them for a while but the expense held me back. One of my students bought one this week and I got to have a go. The massage release was fantastic, it gets in really deep. I bought both balls (two different densities) as I found the green ball a bit hard at first. I love the balls in the same way as I love the rumble roller it gets in deeper than my tennis ball into smaller specific areas.

Which do I recommend?

Well it depends! You certainly don’t need to buy the arsenal I seem to have acquired. If you are unsure about it, a standard foam roller or a tennis ball would be a good choice. The grid is probably a good option for most situations. It also depends on what area needs a massage. Sensitive areas like the IT band are better served with a standard foam roller or a grid, although I do use the rumble roller on mine most people would find it too painful. The rumble roller is good if you don’t mind a bit of pain, and like your massage deep. The balls are more portable and good for targeting smaller areas, but make exploring larger muscles time consuming unless you already know where to massage. Despite my numerous foam rollers there are obviously many more on the market. Since I bought mine I have seen cheaper alternatives come onto the market. These might be great but as I haven’t used them I can’t comment. Remember you can control how deep the roller goes by how much weight you place on the roller.

How can I find out how to use a foam roller

Perhaps I will do another blog post but for now I will leave you in the safe hands of athletes treating athletes who have some great videos demonstrating how they can be used. You can also check out Trigger Point Therapy which is an excellent book. Do you self massage? Do you have any other suggestions?

How To Transform Your Dedication To Build The Habits You Do Want

Have you ever looked at the achievements of other people and thought how dedicated they were?  Would you like to have that kind of dedication in your life? I think you already have it. It’s just a matter of channelling your dedication to do the things you really want to do.

When talking about my 6 day a week yoga practice, people often say how dedicated I must be. People think I am very dedicated to practice, mostly on my own. For me it’s easy. I love yoga and have learnt how it has enhanced my life.

Getting up at 4 am to go to a yoga intensive in Manchester every day last week, certainly took some determination but it was well worth the effort

Getting up at 4 am to go to a yoga intensive in Manchester every day last week, certainly took some determination but it was well worth the effort

I think everyone is dedicated. My yoga practice has taught me that with enough dedication I can build whatever habits I want into my life. After many years of practice, yoga is an unquestionable part of my life. If my schedule changes, the first thing I think about is when I will be able to fit in my yoga practice.  This daily practice did not come until after many years.  My first 8-9 years of yoga was mostly Hatha yoga, which I loved and got great benefit from, but I did not have a daily consistent practice. It wasn’t until 9 years ago when I discovered Ashtanga yoga that I started committing to daily practice. At the time I had a stressful job and the yoga would leave me feeling refreshed and renewed. The flowing style allowed me to become absorbed in my movement, becoming more present and less stressed in my job. I felt I was unravelling who I really was but if I got too busy and wasn’t able to practice, I started to feel disconnected and stressed once more. For me, having gaps of not practicing, really helped me realise why I wanted to practice daily. Without the experience of life without it, I wouldn’t have found the dedication to commit.  If you feel like this, but can’t find the time to do a full practice daily, see if you can find 15 minutes. It’ll be worth it.

We all have things we are dedicated to doing.  It might be your job, listening to music, reading, meeting up with friends, eating or even sleeping. You probably have a number of things that you are dedicated to doing, many of which you do without thinking. At this point they have become habits. That’s great if it is a happy healthy habit that you want in your life but if you want to do more of something else you may need to do less of another activity.  Time is not limitless. It doesn’t expand unfortunately. I could easily fill 24 hours with the things I love but I need to find time to sleep too.

So if you want to read more, maybe you need to watch television less. If you want to do more yoga, is there something else you could do less of to make time for it?  Maybe like me, you already have a life jam packed with the things you love doing. Lucky you! Maybe you want to do more than you have time or energy for.  Does that mean you should not take on the challenge at all. If you want more of something in your life see if you can find 5-15 minutes each day for it. You may find in time you are able to make more time but you may find that a short time is enough.

It takes a while to build a new habit. At first you have to be truly dedicated. Think clearly about why you want to build this new habit and all the benefits it will bring. Motivate yourself and prioritise it like you would an appointment. After a while your new habit will simply become, what you do, as automatic as brushing your teeth in the morning.

What are you dedicated at doing? Is there any area of your life you would like to be more dedicated to?

Why you benefit from practicing when you don’t want to

One of the benefits I have found to practicing daily is that I sometimes practice when I don’t want to. You may think this seems excessive and certainly when I first started practicing I would just practice on the days I wanted to. After all I am doing this by choice right ?

I practice daily, 6 days a week and mostly I love it. It’s some time to myself in each day and it reignites my passion for teaching through my own experience. However as much as I love yoga, some days I just do not want to do it. However, I have never practiced and wished I hadn’t though so I now know I need to just get on with it. There are all sorts of reasons why I might not want to practice, if you have been practicing for a while you may find some of them familiar.

  1. I want to do something else
  2. I have to do something else – I have lots of work to do
  3. My body feels stiff/ tired/ not what I am  used to
  4. It’s winter, can’t I just stay under the duvet until Spring?
  5. My mind is on hyperdrive – note I usually don’t notice this at the time. It reveals itself as a resistance to the silence of practice.

I’m sure there are more…

There are times when you should not practice if you are really ill for example. We discussed this in my post about what to do regarding practicing yoga when you’re unwell. There are also times when you might have to do a shorter practice or a less intense one. Having a daily practice or however many days you are ready to commit to is about showing up. It’s about doing a gentle practice when you are tired. It’s about being patient with your body when it’s tight. It’s about allowing your mind to buzz in silence and sometimes it’s about giving yourself some time to be with your emotions when your mind wants to run and hide. Most of the time it will feel great and empowering but sometimes it will be challenging, and you will have to face yourself, to accept each moment just as it is.

Sometimes you get the most from the practices that you don’t want to do. They give you a chance to accept you are inperfectly beautiful just the way you are. They offer you a chance to find some space when you don’t want to, they reveal what you are hiding from and show you who you are. This is where the yoga journey really begins………..

Have you ever practiced yoga when you didn’t want to?  What was your experience?