Intentionality in asana practice – Yoga teacher training journal #3

We had a great study session talking about intentionality in our physical practice. I had always learned that the way to know what is good for your body is to “listen” to your body – how does it feel? If it hurts, that’s a message from your body that something is wrong. I had learned that as long as there isn’t pain, pushing your body to its limits and feeling a “strong stretch” is a good thing. However, in this course, I am learning that some things that feel good in my body aren’t necessary good for it in the long term. For example, as someone who is hyper flexible in my back, going into deeper and deeper back bends feels wonderful in my body. It’s electrifying. However, letting myself fall into those deep bends often creates sharp disconnects between the different parts of my body. In forward bends, we are often cued to bring the arms over the head like a weight, pulling the body forward, but this also creates a heavy load on the body that isn’t actually serving it in a healthy way. But… it feels so good! 😂 I wondered, especially for us sensory seekers who crave feeling really strong sensation, how we know in each movement whether it is actually good for us, if so many things feel good that aren’t. Some advice from my mentor:

  • Check in with your body: How do you feel the next day or over the next week?
  • Are you pushing your body? How and why? Examine this.
  • What are you doing to create integration and stability in your body?
  • Is there a way you can start really feeling those more subtle sensations, instead of having to push your body into unhealthy positions?
  • This takes time! You need to observe your body and figure out what is and isn’t working well for your body over time.

What do you do to get more in tune with your own bodies??? Please let me know! 😊

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