There is nothing worse than going on retreat with the intention of enlightening your mind and body but instead returning with a strained back or pulled groin muscle. Focusing on the quality of the movement, and worrying less about instant results is a great mantra to follow.
In my 15 years of teaching and attending yoga retreats, I have found the most important part is making sure you leave knowing what “right” is supposed to feel like so that you can recreate the poses, and movements correctly at home. So often our brain, says “oh I can do that” but our body is doing something totally different. Here are my tips for finding that balance:
- Know your blind spots. We all have blind spots and those are where the injuries happen. Areas that are too tight and areas that are too mobile are red flags. Our bodies move in patterns that are "known to us" so we over mobilize our moveable parts and under mobilize our tight spots and end up imbalanced and injured.
- Don’t be a pretzel. We bow to the god of stretching. I see more injured flexible people than not. Loads of yoga teacher injuries happen because they are over stretching. Who even said stretching was so good for you? A balanced body with muscles that are both long and strong is ideal. Being too stretchy is not good for you and leaves you vulnerable for injury.
- Respect your boundaries. We think more is better and we over do every.single.pose. Our movements no longer look like the mindful, healing practice that yoga is meant to be and instead resemble a competition of who can move beyond their limits.
- Really Listen. We tune off the voices that tell us to slow down or stop because we think yoga is inherently healing. Just going through the poses mechanically without stopping to listen, gauge and reset is going to hurt you, not heal you. It is an art to listen to the voice inside your own head that says, "This is not right" and find a way to practice that is in tune with your inner voice.
Lauren Ohayon, the founder of Holy Shift Yoga, is a life-loving, yoga-practicing, body mechanics geek who relishes in constant learning, laughing and community.
To learn more about Lauren’s practice, check out her profile and visit her website.