Put the following yoga rules at the top of your must-not-break list for all styles of yoga to ensure you’ll gain more enjoyment from your practice.
Rule #1 – honor your real limits
This is a tricky rule, because there are clearly two types of limits: Self-imposed limits and real limits. Self-imposed limits are those that we cling to when we are most likely afraid, unmotivated, or disinterested in improving. An example of a self-imposed limit is thinking you are completely unable to get better at yoga because you are too stiff. These types of limits can be broken, and yoga helps us do that.
On the contrary, a real limit is something that we need to respect in order to prevent harm to the body. An example of honoring a real limit is taking the time to heal your post-surgery rotator cuff tear before attempting to do a handstand.
When you honor the real limits of your body in yoga, you’ll be less likely to get hurt. The trick is to know when a limit is brought on by your irrational thoughts, or a real need to take it easy.
Rule #2 – have positive thoughts
It sounds very cliché and inline with the gooey, self-help aspects of yoga, but thinking positively is seriously important. When you practice yoga, your mind is like a sponge, willing to absorb whatever it can wrap itself around. If you have even one negative thought when you are practicing, that negativity will seep into every cell of your being and begin to manifest itself physically or emotionally.
Have you ever met a competitive, angry, or uptight yoga practitioner? Sure, we all have. Aggressive or easily irritated personalities need to be careful that they are not reinforcing what they could leave behind. Letting go of angst, anger, and negativity will clear the space for the many health benefits of positive thinking.
Rule #3 – trust yourself
Whether or not you place your faith in a higher power, or the latest yoga fashion trends, when you practice yoga you must at least have a little faith in yourself. Without it, you are clearly missing the point and will deny yourself the empowering benefits of yoga.
To break this rule is to shun the whole purpose of yoga. If you do not trust yourself, you will have little or no progression in mastering a healthy mind-body connection. If you do trust yourself, you will understand your body’s needs and therefore be able to take better care of your health.
June 12th, 2012