Am I Doing Yoga Right?

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At home, alone, without someone to observe and assist you, how do you know if you are practicing optimally? Here are eight questions to ask to help assess.

Before Practice:

Am I looking forward to my practice?
When we are practicing properly we begin to look forward to our time on the mat. The practice evolves from something we are supposed to do, to something we desire to be in, to a state of devotion. The nourishment available from connection inward becomes an essential part of our heart’s diet.

During Practice:

Is this pain good for me?
Generally, there are two major types of pain in yoga: 1) a dull, achy, wide, longing feeling, sometimes associated with stretching a muscle you never knew existed, and 2) a hot, sharp, burning, specific, stabbing, searing ouch. Usually the first kind of pain is okay, and almost always, the second kind of pain is not. Your body is wise and communicating all the time. Listen to her. If an instruction leads you into bad pain, stop. When you find yourself in the good kind of pain, slow down and investigate with great curiosity.
How’s my face?
The face is a wonderful dashboard instrument indicating our quality of engagement. Tension in the face can indicate resistance. Sometimes we can simply relax the elements of the face - especially the jaw and eyes - to tap into the ease, and sometimes we need to back off from the intensity into a more correct moment of the posture.
How’s my breathing?
Our quality of breath holds an amazing amount of information. Unintentionally constricted or held breath can indicate a lack of presence in the moment. Even, steady breath can help calm the nervous system and often reflects a content mind. Adjust the posture until it feels spacious and easy in the breath. Let the breath support you.

After Practice:

How do I feel later in the day?
Just like any medicine, we need to track the side effects. Are you exhausted and sapped only a few hours after your practice, or are you revived and flowing steady? Are you feeling freer and looser or more sore and injured? Generally, we are looking for a stronger more expansive sense of ourselves. If the practice is working, we feel more balanced, available, less fearful, and easy in our bodies.
How is my sleep?
Are you able to fall asleep more easily and wake feeling well rested? This is a key indicator that your practice is working.
How are my relationships?
The practices of yoga are designed to increase our capacity for the relationships we are in. Are you noticing that you have more patience and compassion, or is it easier to find fault? Sometimes when we first embark on a journey, we reject those that are not on the same trip. This is a natural phase. Be gentle as possible with yourself and those around you. The eventual result is that you will love more, not less.
How am I treating myself?
Your self-trust and responsibility to your inner authority will gain strength and courage with the practices of yoga. You are on the right track. Continue with tender courage.
About the Author

Kira Sloane

Kira is fascinated by the study of what Is and loves to examine the ordinary every day miracles.


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