Listen to your body
I bet you have heard that before! But what does it really mean? Rather than trying to explain, I would like you to practise the warm-up sequence and then sit still for a few minutes.
Close your eyes. Don’t try to control your breath. Just sit and focus your attention within. Become aware of your body, scan it. How does it feel? Scan your whole body: your legs, your hips, your torso, your shoulders and neck. Is there any tension anywhere? Can you feel what your body needs? Can you feel what your body wants? Does your chest want to expand and take a deeper breath it? How is your energy level? Are you stressed or anxious?
Then you can decide which sequence to do: Managing MS fatigue, Balance & Coordination, Stress Relief or Strengthening before doing the relaxation.
While doing a sequence you might also feel like staying longer in the pose, then pause the tape! Or you might want to skip a pose. In this case, you should go into child’s pose until the next one.
And remember that “No pain no gain” is wrong! You should not feel any pain. If you do, come out of the pose. Feeling a stretch is fine of course but you should never feel pain.
Hold the pose and relax
The aim is not to be able to do this or that pose! Of course it is nice and it feels good to realise “woah, I can do the wheel!” It is of great benefit for the self-confidence. However, as stressed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the aim should be to find stability and pleasure in the pose.
My teacher in India once told us that to become a Great Yogi you should be able to hold the same pose for 3h48, finding stability and pleasure!
No worry, you don’t have to hold the pose for that long. I don’t know anybody who does 😉 But please try to hold and relax in the pose, as much as possible.
Here is a suggestion: why don’t you choose one of the poses from the sequences, click on pause, and hold on the pose for a little bit longer. Do it again the following day. And the following, each time trying to hold a little bit longer – even just 30 seconds longer. Notice how you can relax a bit more too!
Don’t judge yourself
One of the many advantages of practising with a video is that you are not tempted to compare yourself with the students sitting next to you. You can just focus on yourself.
Obviously you shouldn’t compare yourself to the teacher either!
We are all at a different stage on our yogic path and we all have different bodies, different challenges. What matters is that we are practising right here, right now. We should be very thankful to our body to allow us to do so. Your body is your temple.
This article is part of the Yoga for MS Programme