In each of our “Food for your Practice” newsletters, we ask our teachers to share their observations about some aspect of their practice of yoga. This issue marking the return of our newsletters after a period of lying fallow, the topic of seasonal changes in our yoga practice seemed particularly germane.
Does your yoga practice change with the seasons, or months, or days? Here’s what our teachers have to say…
My cycle of yoga practice is to come back and back and back to my mat, but seriously I think that our physical bodies are naturally in tune with the seasons if we slow down and allow ourselves to tune in. Ayurveda honors the seasons, foremost, in both our food choices and our daily practices.
The more I practice yoga, the more in tune I become with the subtle shifts in my energy levels and my body’s needs. I’ve noticed cyclical patterns in my yoga practice naturally emerging from these shifts taking place in my life. On beautiful summer days when my energy level is high and body feels strong, my practice is fun and playful. After a long week when my body is craving quiet and deep rest, I turn to a more introverted, slow practice with lots of blankets and bolsters to support myself. I know that by adjusting my practice to honor where I am, I can support and serve myself in the best possible way.
Generally there are no discernible cycles to my practice, but I do notice an overall trend. I tend to practice in response to my body’s needs, and the trend over the past few years has been toward fewer inversions and more twists. I’m not sure I understand exactly why that might be, but I honor my body by going with it! 🙂
As an avid practitioner and instructor I can attest that there are cycles to a yoga practice. Work, play, your mood and even the weather plays a role in how often you practice and what you get out of that practice. Practice can stagnate, sometimes I get asked the question “I practice every day, why am I no longer advancing in my poses?” The answer to this can be many things but if you feel like your no longer making advancements in your practice then I would suggest changing the type of classes you are taking. Remember, variety is the spice of life!
I think it all depends on how you feel each day. One day you might feel low energy and a Bramhana practice can lift that or you may want to go with it and do a Langhana practice to stay low key. Obviously we tend to stay low and close( forward bending) in cold months so back bending heart openers can help us come out of that. Warmer months can bring more uplifting ,heart openers but in high heat we can go low and easy as well…it all depends!!!
My yoga practice just went through a very big season change, when I broke my wrist. Having to adapt it to accommodate a severe injury taught me a lot about how flexible a practice can be. Sometimes we have to reshape it for periods of sickness, or low energy, or even high energy. In the end it’s about listening honestly to what’s going on for you, and using your practice to bring balance into your life.
Does my yoga practice have seasons??? YES! Right now, I’m finding a return to my mat as one might return to school. And what a welcome return after a distracted and scattered (and fun!) summer of patching together small batches of work on my mat. I feel myself becoming more grounded as a longer practice takes root again. The process reminds me of how the mind wanders in practice or meditation yet a return to the breath yields that same welcome awareness