Guest post by Marisa Wolfe
Ok. I have a confession... I'm always looking for the easy way out in my yoga practice. That's not to say I don't see the benefit of working hard and the safety that can come from muscular engagement in alot of poses or that I don't love a good workout... but is life really just all about hard work?
One of the things I see in my students all the time (and, of course, feel in my own body) is this need to work hard. As if it doesn't count unless we are giving 163%. Wow, we are hard on ourselves.
But yoga is also about finding ease. Patanjali talks about a steady, stable comfortable posture in the Yoga Sutras. He also talks about using pain for purification but why do we seem to go out of our way for the pain but not the comfort?
This is why I look for the easy way out. The easy way requires some level of comfort and some level of, dare I say... slack. When we push ourselves, we often get in our own way. We are so muscularly engaged that we limit our range of motion so much more than necessary. Often we don't even know what our full range of motion is. Often we physically cannot get there without engaging so much.
Enter Thai Yoga Massage, a massage modality where you allow someone else to move you into yoga poses. Its a little like passive partner yoga with some sweet massage built in. Its also a great way to figure out if you are working hard to your own detriment in your yoga practice.
Give this a try: Let a friend take you into Cobra Pose by fixing your thighs with their knees and drawing your arms back to open the shoulders and lift the chest . Don't help, let them do it. This video will talk you through it. Note that if you have any spine or shoulderissues, you should only have this done by a professional.
Now, did you notice anything about your range of motion? I'm betting you just did the most super-humongous Cobra of your life! With no effort! Wheeee!
On to the next step... do Cobra Pose on your own but remember the sensation of your partner helping you and try to recreate some of that - the imagination is a powerful tool.
Great job! Notice the difference? Less engagement, more movement. Maybe even less "pain is purification" and more "steady, stable, comfortable"? Keep practicing, it gets even better ;-)
To take this even further, begin to consciously take note when you feel yourself physically pushing or struggling in a pose. Investigate that pose some more. Is there somewhere you can give up a little effort? Somewhere you can invite a little more ease? Probably ;-) Give that s*** up and give yourself permission for a little more ease in your practice, a little more ease in your body, a little more ease in your mind.
Yoga, Thai Yoga Massage, Retreats and More...
www.yogadelsolstudio.com - Classes in Central New Mexico
www.santoshayogaretreats.com - Yoga & Meditation in the SW and beyond
allyogaallthetime.com - Yoga practices, yoga lifestyle, yoga travel
www.marisawolfe.com - Learn Thai Yoga Massage, learn more about Marisa connect with my projects
~Breathe, Relax, Be~