As my yoga journey continues I learn more and more about myself and my body. The learning happens on many levels. From the inside out, I learn how to create space so I can move deeper into a pose, I feel my body strengthening as I free myself of my limiting thoughts and allow my body to persevere, I feel my balance improving every time I focus on my third eye, find my mula banda and engage my core.
I feel myself opening up to the limits and possibilities of my body. I listen to how I talk to myself and what words I use. I notice how I react when I can or can’t do something I want to do. I observe my emotions during intense stretches and positions. And I use this information also when I am not on my mat.
The last couple of days I have added a new way of learning. I film myself during practise to see what I am not able to see while I practise. Since I do not have the possibility to go to a class right now, I figured I would be my own teacher. Well, I can tell you a whole new world of challenges has opened up because of this. It is like hearing your own voice for the first time, in my experience very few people enjoy that!
I am now no longer ignorant of my posture. It is a very different thing to feel your body from the inside out, and to see your body from the outside. I find it confronting but at the same time extremely useful and helpful. One of my life goals is to take care of myself in the best way I can, and to do that I need to take care of my body. Bad posture is not a good way to take care of yourself.
Seeing myself using my body has truly made an impression. I am more committed than ever to do my body justice and use it in the most constructive way possible. I once read in an article about muscles and fitness that we should be aware of what we communicate with our bodies all day long, not only while we work-out. It is an illusion to think we can change something in our bodies by only focussing on the hour and a half in the gym, while the other twenty two and a half hours we do not pay any attention to that intention.
I think this is a valid point. For example, I wish to improve my forward fold. For this I need lengthen my hamstrings. I have been stretching them for a while but I didn’t have much success so I looked a bit more into it. After seeing myself move on video I could see immediately that I do not move from the hips. In order to forward fold deeper and lengthen my hamstrings I first have to open my hips so I can start rotating at the beginning of my spine, not halfway through.
Since I noticed I only use half of my spine when I bend over, I now try to be aware of this bad habit off the mat too. It makes sense to incorporate this information in my daily life, as there are many moments that I need make use of this movement. Would I only try to fix this habit on the mat I think it would take me a very long time. As it is, already it is a very difficult habit to break. After years of not rotating my hips when I fold forward, these girls are rusty to say the least. They just don’t expect the work anymore. Needless to say my body compensated in other areas and none the better.
But, now I know I can change it. It may take me a long time, it may not be easy, but that’s ok. Every time I have to pick something up from the floor I am thankful for another chance to better my posture and take care of myself!