Sometimes less is more. This morning I attended a yoga flow class and whilst positioned in a wide-angle seated forward bend I pondered my relationship with my spine.
You see back in my twenties I considered my yoga practice in terms of more is more. It was all about getting into a position to the max, without any thought for my alignment (or indeed the well-being of my body). This pose, mentioned above, was a typical example of my ego actually working against my spine. Rather than bending from the hip-joints and maintaining the length of my front torso, I would gleefully bend from my waist and push my head forward in a desperate effort to get my nose onto my yoga mat. My poor spine no doubt hunched up like some kind of misshapen contortionist.
So what changed? I found a yoga teacher who taught me mindfulness. She emphasised the importance of listening to my body and recognising my limitations.
Today as I carefully bent from my hip-joints, gently positioning myself with my nose a world away from my yoga mat, I pictured my twenty-something self warping her body into potentially harmful positions. It reminded me of my journey and I figured it was worth sharing my thoughts.
Remember that your body is unique and that in any yoga class it is essential to start with an awareness of your alignment and a sense of the subtle adjustments that can be made to correct any misalignment. Moreover, always listen to your body, respect your limitations and don't be afraid to ask for a modified version of a pose.