Make yoga work for your body, not the other way around.
Yoga is not “one size fits all”. Our bodies differ greatly due to the shape of our bones, muscle tonicity and previous injuries. For this reason, we don’t work to make ourselves fit into a pose perfectly. We make the pose fit our bodies so we can gain the full benefits without injury.
The same pose can look very different from person to person. That doesn’t mean one person is necessarily doing it incorrectly. If they are both in safe alignment, they can each be taking their body to the place that allows them to get the pose benefits. Advanced poses are not necessarily for someone who is “better” at yoga. They are for people who are not feeling the benefits of the pose in the standard form. These people need to go deeper to feel what you and I already feel in the standard variation. Why? Maybe they were a dancer or an athlete or maybe they just have naturally more open hip bones, etc. So don’t compare yourself to others. Make the poses work for you.
The purpose of yoga is radiant physical health and greater mental or spiritual health. We cannot attain that if we are pushing ourselves to pain.
A few helpful tips:
- Research the type of yoga program that may work best for you.
- Share any injuries or special conditions with your teacher before class.
- Start with beginner variations of poses. It’s not a competition and due to your particular body some advanced variations may never work for your body. Be ok with that.
- Modify with blocks, straps or blankets if they help you find the benefit of a pose more safely.