Every now and then it's good to step back from what you think your yoga practice should be and move towards what you feel serves your body and your mind.
"We all have preconceived ideas about what is best for us, maybe because someone we trust told us something we assumed was true, or perhaps because of wider cultural beliefs. The truth is though, everyone is different, and what works well for one person might not be helpful for another. We all have different anatomies, different minds, different rhythms, so while, for example, it’s often recommended to ‘practise energetic asana in the morning’ - and for many people, that’s exactly right - it may not be for everybody.
In this life, we are all encouraged to get to know ourselves, to let go of conventional ideas and instead ask: “Does this really work for me personally?” Let's start by applying this question to our yoga practice and who knows, it might filter out to other areas of our life where we have habits or routines that might not, in fact, personally suit us.
Let’s start a revolution - that of listening to our body and mind, and asking ‘how does this work for me?" - Esther Ekhart
How to do this?
We suggest setting aside 3 weeks to experiment with what you practise and when, and to keep a record of how this feels for you.
Are you a morning yoga person or does it actually suit you better to practise later in the day?
Perhaps you’re used to practising more dynamic yoga in the mornings or relaxing classes in the evenings. What happens if you change it around? What effect does it have on your day, your sleep, your energy levels, your mood?
How much time do you have in your week to practise? What's a realistic amount that you can commit to within your current schedule and commitments without turning yoga into another stressor in your life?
Or if you know already what suits you just spend a little more time taking note of how you feel before and after different classes.
You can find some classes to experiment with in Esther's playlists:
For the grounding classes, you can expect a mixture of relaxing Yin, Hatha, Slow Flow and Restorative yoga. The energizing classes are Vinyasa and Hatha classes and are designed to get you moving and work up some heat. Each class is around 30 minutes long.
Please note - you need to be a member of EkhartYoga to access the classes.
It's useful to keep a practice journal during the experiment. Each time before you pick a class ask yourself:
- What do I need from my practice today?
- How do I feel before my class?
And then after your class (immediately and later in the day) ask yourself:
- How do I feel after my class?
Take notice of your mood, your energy levels through the day and anything else that comes up.
Give it a try sometime - you might find you are already doing exactly what serves your body and mind, or you may just discover something new in your practice!
Have fun experimenting and let us know how you get on in the comments below.