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Shrink on the Mat – October 2011

October 3, 2011
Question1: Sometimes after I’ve done yoga in the evenings my body aches the next morning, should I do yoga again the next day?
Any yoga teacher worth their salt will encourage you to do some form of practice daily and perhaps that is why many studios nowadays are coming up with 30 day challenges! Although yoga is indeed a daily discipline, the right approach for you depends on how you define yoga.

Yoga is not just our practice on the mat. It is important to remember that yoga is how we meet every moment of our day. Meeting the body aches the next day with wisdom and compassion is in itself a yoga practice. Some questions to ask: Are the aches the body reflecting back having used parts of it that were undiscovered before? How does your body respond to moving back into a strong practice the next day? Are the aches an indication that perhaps you have over-pushed or hurt yourself in some kind of way? Do you need to engage with a gentle restorative practice the next day?

I find that we have a tendency to over-push in the West and that in living by the principles of non violence, when one is really sore, the right practice might be to back off. Sometimes when the body is sick or we have been practicing yoga on automatic pilot, the best thing we can do is take a rest, or go for a stroll in nature. That is yoga. Taking five minutes on the floor in corpse pose with complete awareness might be more of a yoga practice than an hour and a half of mindless poses! Yoga is awareness. How we do that is to keep alive to our practice, and what our body needs. So take a break when you need to. Or do some gentle restorative postures. Decide when your practice today might be to go out your way to do something for someone. Or sitting down and doing a half hour meditation. At the same time, be alert to when the best thing to do might be to roll out that mat but the mind is convincing you otherwise. See if you can learn to listen closely to your body and to what it is saying or needing and you will be practicing yoga that is both wise and compassionate to yourself…..

Linda Kantor is a psychotherapist, yoga teacher and practitioner who has been in private practice for the past 15 years.
Have a question about yoga? Email Linda directly or
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