Thursday, April 22, 2010


This morning I was feeling like a change, and somewhat short on time, so I put on a yoga podcast that I used to enjoy but haven't practiced to in nearly a year.  It was a 40-minute sequence of mainly standing poses with some twists and hip openers, and then a few seated hip openers as well.

I did the practice... and I was totally dissatisfied.  It wasn't that I wasn't challenged - there were some long holds and deep postures.  Some of the sequencing was nice too, like a Warrior II - Crescent Warrior - Half Moon standing sequence, and a Tree Pose to Warrior III balancing sequence which is a favourite of mine.  But there was just something that didn't do it for me - I think the real thing was that I just didn't feel I was generating heat.  I missed my sun salutations!  I didn't feel like my body ever really warmed up at all.  Also I felt really incomplete at the end - there were no backbends, no shoulderstand to round off the practice.  I did a few rounds of bridge and then a long headstand and then I felt better.

It was interesting to me as an experience of how much my personal practice has changed, how something that used to really do it for me just wasn't working for me today.

Have you ever had a similar experience?  How has your practice evolved? 


  1. I've definitely had similar experiences. I was nodding my head reading your post, thinking "yes... yes... YES!" Repeated experiences like these were what led me to cancel my subscription to Yoga Today recently. The classes just weren't satisfying anymore. They all seemed somehow incomplete.

  2. Hmmm... My practice often seems so different to most of the other yoga bloggers that I don't really know how to answer this.

    My dissatisfaction would stem from a practice that was *too* powerful physically. I always get a feeling of dissatisfaction after a fast flow class that doesn't have a pranayama practice in it for exmaple.

    The evolution of my practice is much more a mental and emotional one for me rather than physical. My body has huge limitations and I've come to terms with that. It just means I have to work harder (a lot harder!!!!) on the other 7 limbs :D

  3. Hi, I wrote about something like this rather recently (The Beauty of Hatha Yoga). I typically feel like I need a challenge, which means I definitely appreciate sun salutations. The sequence is beautiful and fluid and the way my body moves through the postures is deeply satisfying. I, too, like to generate heat and feel the slow warming from the core outwards. I am also more focused during such a practice. Sometimes, though, I do feel as though I need something more slow-paced and gentle on my body, especially if I'm sore from carrying Luna around all day.

  4. I'm totally with you Rachel@Suburban Yogini; nothing leaves me feeling more edgy and unravelled than a strong vinyasa class with little time for reflection, meditation or pranayama... to each her own.

    I struggled for years to 'like' a stronger, faster flow but it just doesn't do it for me. I LOVE to go deeper into things as they are and to just ride the slow steady waves of the breath internally - does that make it any sense... like cellular breathing / earth breathing? I am totally in love with Yin yoga at the moment for the space it allows for this kind of inner work.

    The funny thing is the more I follow my heart on this and work on giving up the critical inner voice that tells me what I 'should' be doing and questions what is 'real' yoga, the stronger my personal practice becomes and the more authentic my own classes become - it's really very cool :)

    Here's to evolution - can you imagine what things will look like in the next ten years?!

  5. Wow do I ever know what you mean! I find this one of the most interesting parts of yoga - my practice is constantly changing, evolving, something! I especially find this to be true with regard to teachers. I don't know quite what happens, but I can attend a particular teacher's class for years and then suddenly that class just doesn't speak to me anymore. And it's got nothing to do with the teacher - I've just moved on in some way.

  6. Thanks for the comments!

    @Misanthropic - yes, I totally get this. I have found a lot of online classes or YJ sequences to leave me feeling incomplete somehow.

    @Rachel - While I do seek a physical challenge sometimes, I think what I was missing yesterday was the FLOW of the practice. Even on days when I practice a short, gentle sequence, I have a warm up section, a middle section, and then a finishing section. Yet some online classes make me feel like I'm starting halfway through and then running out before the end!

    I think it's great though to recognize that so much of the evolution is mental and emotional, not just physical. Being OK with your body and loving it as it is is a much more significant evolution than simply building muscle and tone!!

    @Juliana - Yes, I am also totally in love with my sun sals. I rarely ever teach a class without some variation of them because they are so important for warming up the key areas of the body, especially the spine. I just can't overemphasise how important warm ups are to me in my practice - and I live in a hot country!

    @Dragonfly - Thanks for the lovely comment. It's great to find a place that feels like it 'fits' for you. I am a huge fan of restorative and yin practices for exactly the reasons you give - the smoothness, the way your breathing becomes a meditation and everything else just falls away.

    Here's to evolution indeed!!

  7. @ Tiffany - I must have missed your comment, but yes, so so true. Different teachers speak to us at different times of our lives. Hum, as a teacher, I wonder how we evolve too? That's a whole other post I guess!

  8. My practice has changed that way, too. If I don't do surya namaskar I don't ever feel warm enough to really get deep into my poses. And now that I've been practicing in a hot studio more regularly, I notice it takes me much less time to find that place where my muscles feel warmed up and loose. Love it!