It’s Peggy here, with a quick question for you:
Can you guess the #1 mistake most people make when it comes to practicing yoga?
…not executing the pose correctly?
…not breathing consciously?
…not paying attention while in the poses?
Well — those are some of the common mistakes, but the #1 Mistake I see most students make is: pushing themselves too hard!
Too many people try to use their yoga practice as their main “workout”, and in an attempt to do so, they tend to put all of the emphasis on the physical part of the practice.
What most people forget is that yoga is actually an awakening of ALL aspects of your being — the physical as well as the mental, emotional and spiritual energies!
In yoga, you have the opportunity to integrate and balance every aspect of your being.
Some of us are typically more centered in our mental self, with most of our energy being spent on problem-solving, to-do lists, figuring things out, taking care of business, etc. These folks typically “get things done” and expect a lot from themselves and from others. Sometimes these folks will ignore the physical need for exercise and rest and will ignore the emotional need for comfort and closeness.
Others are centered mainly in the physical self, with energy focused on various aches and pains, or the realities of aging, or the on-going attainment of physical perfection at all costs, even when the body needs rest and repair.
Others still are focused on the emotional self, with energy being used to take care of emotional hurts, regrets, fears, worries, etc. On the positive side, some folks who are centered in the emotional self are also able to easily express love, joy, hope and gratitude.
Folks who are awakened to their spiritual self feel comfortable opening their hearts to the mysteries and miracles of life, dreaming big and living life from a place of passion and peace. But, if taken to the extreme, these uber-spiritual beings might be disconnected from the day-to-day realities and responsibilities like getting the oil changed in the car, paying bills on time, and understanding the material struggles the less-enlightened of us may be facing.
Don’t worry — there’s no one right or wrong way to be — but recognizing where you may currently be is valuable information so you can use your yoga practice to allow each of these aspects of your being to manifest, be present and have a voice. They are all a part of you, whether you realize it or not, and when you can balance, integrate and harmonize those energies, you’ll come closer to living a full expression of your life!
So, to get the most out of your yoga practice, work in a way that brings you closer to balance. One day, it might be that you need more of a physical practice because you’ve been sitting at your desk, working on problem solving all day.
But on another day, you might be physically worn out from an extended surf session, and you need your yoga for relaxing and rejuvenation.
Or, you might find yourself in an emotionally-charged setting and you need your yoga to erase stress and bring a sense of calm and peace.
So the next time you’re getting ready to do your yoga, think about what it is you really need, and open yourself to that experience!
Remember: yoga is not about executing a perfect pose — yoga is about experiencing yourself in the pose, fully alive, fully alert, fully present! Only then do you get the maximum benefit from the practice.