The great thing about the human body is that we are all different. Our bodies are all made uniquely defined to who we are and what we do. Some of us sit at a desk all day while others have jobs that require physical labor for 8 hours a day/40 hours+ a week. Some of us are runners, cyclists, or swimmers. We go outside and play sports. Some woman have had their bodies completely changed due to childbirth or other various health related issues. Some people have injuries they are recovering from or are dealing with various aches and pains throughout their practice. We are not the same. My dear friend Betina often says “Our bodies tell the unique story of who we are”. I fully believe that every single body is different and with that, certain modifications must be taken.
I have found through working with a friend who does yoga therapy, that right now in my practice, there are modifications I need to take. I don’t take them all the time. There are days when I get on my mat and feel really good and other days when it’s a struggle to get through one sun salutation because of lower back pain. On those days, I modify. There are days when I want to kick up into a handstand and take arm balances and other days when I can barely make it out of child’s pose.
Yoga is a practice and the goal of that practice is feel better than when you first stepped on your mat. Whether that is mental, physical or emotional is truly dependent on the student and what issues they are needing to work through. The beautiful thing about this practice is how it can be completely tailored to each individual.
There is nobody making the rules of how things have to be on YOUR mat. I believe postures must be adjusted to fit individual body types. The golden rule is to do what feels good. You should always do what feels good. If something hurts, stop doing it! It’s your body. You have to live in it every single second of every single day. So make it feel good. Modify when needed, hang out in child’s pose or down dog or heck, if you’re feeling frisky add on to your postures. Maybe you go for that arm balance or inversion. But don’t feel like you have to do it all. At the end of the day it’s your practice and you will only get out of it what you put into it. Some days that may mean making it restorative and gentle, other days you are more playful and explore more on your mat. This is a practice of allowing ourselves to find that deep connection to our bodies and minds through our breath and movement. Make your practice your own. Find your bliss on your mat. Whatever that make look like to you.
“Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies”|Frank Gillette Burgess