Yoga is a beautiful practice to unite yourself with your body. Yoga, in Sanskrit, actually means to bring the body, mind, and spirit into union. It can only be done by honoring the body and understanding where it is at any given moment; means to understand that each moment the body is in a different state. To honor this unique state is to bring greater awareness to the body and to understand how each intricate piece interacts with one another.
- The first thing to consider is your comfort. To practice yoga, we should make sure we are wearing things that allow for movement and comfort. For example, some yoga pants and leggings can be tight around the waist if not appropriately sized. Opt for loose-fitting softest workout clothes to ensure that you can create a big-bellied breath without feeling any discomfort. On the same token, make sure your clothes are not oversized as rearranging them can distract you from your practice. The closer you can get yourself to feeling like you are free from the constraints of clothing, the better. In fact, for the people who can safely and comfortably practice yoga naked, this can be the best way to understand and honor your body in its most natural state.
- The next thing is the breath. The way yoga allows for union is through the breath. As you breathe, use the movement of air as a focal point in the mind to free yourself from the racing mind’s endless stream of thoughts. The breath can now be used to tune into the body. A great way is working on your awareness through the body, piece by piece, i.e., starting at the feet and working your way to your head. With each breath, you can scan a body part and direct the breath into that part. As you inhale, shoot fresh blood and energy into that body part. As you exhale, allow the release of air to release tension from that location too.
- The last and perhaps most important consideration to honoring your body and understanding how it is showing up in this given breath and moment is respecting its messages. If you are slowly moving with your breath and using your mind to refocus your thoughts, you should notice when the body sends messages. It may say, “Ouch! That’s too far. This hold has been too long. I can’t bend that way right now.” Yoga is about this moment. It is not about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow. Therefore, the body needs to be respected for what it is NOW. Do not push yourself into asana your body was capable of earlier. Come into each pose with patience and breath every time. Let go of expectations or disappointments. Honor your body where it is now and use yoga to create an insight into areas to send love more often. Understand your body, and it can become your greatest ally and servant.