by NativeRemedies on February 23rd, 2011 at 7:00 am
Being a yoga instructor I get asked a lot of questions. However, I must admit, there is one question in particular that always gets a vague response, “What pose do you recommend the most?” Although this question is a valid one, it should end with the words “for me”. See, everyone is unique and what may be beneficial for you, may not be for someone else.
Yoga works by incorporating different poses (asanas) that stretch, strengthen and aid different parts of the body. As we learn to condition the body in this way, the benefits are astounding, but what you may need for your body isn’t always the same for everyone else. So the question of “what pose do you recommend the most”, depends on what you want for your body and out of your practice.
Physically speaking, attaining tranquility and practicing to your “edge” can become hindered if a previous or current ailment is affecting you. Past and recent surgeries, injuries, pregnancies and even common illnesses such as a cold can and will impede on your session by not allowing you to delve deeper into your practice. The most important thing you can do is to not only tell your instructor of any ailments you may have, but to also start your practice slowly while dealing with any condition.
If you tell your instructor what you are suffering with, he/she will let you know when you should let up in a pose and when it’s ok to push through. Also, it’s not such a bad idea to research which poses may be right for you. For example, if you have recently had a shoulder injury, steer clear of any weight bearing poses, like Chaturanga and Downward-Facing Dog, but with the release of your doctor try shoulder muscle strengtheners like Warrior I & II.
Mentally, your mind may be craving some solitude and silence which can be sought through yoga as well. Taking a few minutes out of every day for some peace and quiet is always a good idea, but for those of you who need more, there are different levels of yoga that can bring a deeper relaxation aspect.
If you avidly practice yoga, you are aware of the relaxation (Savasana) at the end of the class, and you may also be aware that sometimes your neighbor may not be as fond of it as you are. If you are looking for the ultimate relaxation class, you need be someplace where your neighbor isn’t fidgeting with their mat or even worse, trying to find their car keys. You can find a great class at your local studio by looking for the words, deep relaxation or restorative yoga. Restorative yoga is the deepest one can get into a pose and still be completely relaxed. This form of yoga is used to renew and heal the body, and can be used for anyone with an injury, or just looking for a greater method of serenity.
Before heading to the gym or the studio, set your intention for what you would like to gain out of your yoga practice. Regardless of anything else, the most important thing you can do is be truthful to yourself.
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