Autumn and Winter naturally invite us to slow down, cosy up, and go into hibernation mode, but modern life expects us to carry on as normal. Most of us could benefit from slowing down a bit, so your yoga mat is the perfect place to start putting it into practice so it comes with you off the mat and into your daily life.
The human body is designed for movement but here are some ideas to explore moving more consciously in your asana practice:
instead of powering through posture after posture, explore moving into postures step by step, feeling your way in, without any assumption of what your body is, or isn’t, capable of;
Before holding any posture, take the time to move in and out with awareness of micro movements to increase your sensitivity to how your body is moving. Fine-tuning your movements invites stability and release in the short-term and structural recalibration over a longer period;
Explore synchronising your movements with the breath, rather than manipulating your breath to fit around your movements, to bring a softness and grace to your practice. In allowing your breath to be free of intention, and potentially habit, it will slow of its own accord as you relax more deeply into the fullness of the posture.
In slowing down, it’s likely you will start to feel more clearly into what’s actually happening, and you may feel some sensations that aren't so pleasant. Pain should never be ignored but discomfort is inevitable, as you explore your limitations, strengths and weaknesses but look for that sweet spot that is comfortably uncomfortable, so you can meet yourself with acceptance and gratitude rather than struggle and resistance. Over time, even the discomfort feels good and asana practice becomes deliciously juicy and joyful. Rather than pushing yourself, and potentially inviting injury, remember that you are enough, exactly as you are - life doesn’t get easier just because you can do a fancy posture!