The Need For Variety

I have practiced yoga for the better part of 15 years.  People ask me if I practice every day and the answer is pretty much yes.  But what most people don’t know is about 6 years ago, I hit a pretty severe wall, and went about two years without practicing.

The wall came on gradually.  It started one day where after I finished practice, I felt significantly worse than I did before I started.   For many months this was hit or miss, some days I felt great after, and some days I felt worse.  And then the frequency increased, and then it increased again until it reached a place where my practice was becoming detrimental to my life.  So, I did the hardest thing possible for a yogi to do…….I let go of my practice.  And I did more than that.   I started cursing yoga, speaking badly of it,  and did my best to just be a “normal” person.

After a couple years away, I gradually came back to the practice……… Scared, skeptical,  apprehensive and curious.  A couple months in, I read something that was very powerful for me… “If you are not feeling better after your practice, you are doing something wrong!”  That really struck a cord.  Maybe there was something wrong with my practice.  Maybe my vision was great enough.  And maybe I can learn and re-open to yoga in a way that it can once again be my most trusted companion.

Why do I say all this today?  Because for the last 3 weeks I have been struggling with a sinus infection and have needed to greatly manipulate my practice around that.  When you can’t breathe and have only a very limited source of energy, you better use the energy you have wisely or pay the consequence later.   The last three days I have practiced two very intelligently sequenced ( by Geeta Iyengar) restorative days and today, I did the menstual sequence.   Yup, one of the sequences given to women in Iyengar yoga when they are on their cycle.  I found it to be a wonderful practice, easy to do, and incredibly restorative and energizing to my kidneys.  And, after I was done, I felt great.  Like there was no sickness at all and I was full power again.  I felt very grateful.

It has been a journey for me, but I have learned how to adapt my practice to my needs of the given day.  And, as we all know, each day is different.  Some days we are energized, some days we are drained, some days the body hurts, and some days it doesn’t.   The trick is listening closely and knowing which tool you need to use in a given moment.   Constructing this beautiful masterpiece each day is no easy task.

If you’re confused on how to start a home practice, don’t know what to do, etc, talk to your teacher.  We are all here to help.  And remember, as Manouso has often imparted,  “Your asana’s are here to serve you, not you to serve them.”


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