A week of yoga asana EVERY DAY! What a brilliant idea, perhaps my best yet. It was awesome.
Like any good weekly challenge, I learnt stuff. Here it is:
1. My asana practice this week taught me a lot about listening to my needs in the moment. My practice every day was far from identical. Some days I practised in the morning, other times in the middle of the day or before bed. The time of day, my energy levels, my schedule, my emotional state, all impacted what I did and for how long. Sometimes I asana-d for a short time, other times I practised for an hour or more. The one thing that remained constant: I listened to my body and did what was right for me in that moment - not what I thought I should do, not my maximum effort every time - just what I needed.
2. It's liberating to take the pressure off. I think a lot of us don't do the things we know are good for us because we feel we don't have enough time. But I'd argue that we do have the time. Even if it's only five minutes, it's worth it. Yesterday I only managed to do a few cat/cows with my son. It's still yoga. A two-minute walk to the end of the street and back is still a walk; a single sentence is still writing; a paragraph read is still reading (I think you get the idea!).
3. My physical and emotional states are oh so intimately linked. Doing asana makes me feel better physically and emotionally. Chicken or the egg? It doesn't really matter. What matters is that doing asana regularly definitely keeps me as sane as I can manage. An asana a day keeps my grumpy bum (further) away.
4. The dance between challenging myself and nurturing myself is an intuitive one. Challenging myself to try something new, to do that fifth chataranga dandasana or work on a new balance pose can sometimes be exactly what I need. Pushing myself gives me the confidence to try stuff out in the real world, to realise that my comfort zone has fuzzy boundaries. Likewise, a more nurturing approach - lots of child pose, shavasana, pranayama - can well and truly hit the spot when I need it. It's not that hard for me to figure out what I need and when - I just have to listen, have to be present with where I'm at.
Ultimately, doing asana every day has helped me to live more mindfully this week; on the mat and off.