I was talking with a lovely friend and student about her practice recently. She somewhat sheepishly told me that these days, her practice is mostly Child’s Pose and Savasana. And then she went through a list of reasons why it should be different — because she used to do more, because it would be “good” to do those poses from back in the day, because, because, because.
Then she paused. And said out loud what I was already thinking: “Maybe this is just my practice right now.”
I smiled and nodded because here’s what I heard underneath her laundry list: “Even though there’s not an actual reason why my practice should be different, and my practice is serving me exactly where I am right now, my mind wants it to be different, so I should make it different.”
After her ah-ha moment, I added: “Sometimes the practice we think we need in our mind isn’t what our body actually wants.”
She nodded, closed her eyes gently and let that sink in. When she opened her eyes again, I could tell she’d let that integrate into her body and heart.
Later, she encouraged me to write this blog post. So here we are.
Mind vs. Body
It’s easy to see the past as better than the present. That’s why we have nostalgia, right? Ahh…the good old days…
In the good old days of my early practice, I could take a nap in Supta Virasana, it was so comfortable for me. Nowadays, I’m pretty sure my knee would pop off if I got much closer than lying back on a few bolsters.
In the good old days, I could do Sun Salutation after Sun Salutation after Sun Salutation. Nowadays, I can’t find the will or desire to go that fast, and I feel bored when I do.
In the good old days, I secretly loved my show-off poses. Nowadays, I couldn’t care less.
Mind and Body
But also in the good old days? I had three separate years where I got migraines every. single. day. Nowadays, I know my body much better and can intervene before things get too bad.
Also in the good old days? It wasn’t uncommon for me to injure myself in yoga because I just kept trying for the “full expression” without feeling. Nowadays, I can’t remember the last time I got hurt during my practice.
Also in the good old days? I was quick to spout my mouth off, passive aggressive in my relationships and forced myself to count to 30 before I hopped out of Savasana, car keys already in hand. Nowadays, I can still be pretty sarcastic, but I’m less reactionary; I do my best to be honest and open in my relationships; and I never, ever skip Savasana.
Do I sometimes wish for the ease of my Urdvha Dhanurasana from back in the day? Or feel like I should get back there because, clearly, not being able to do something from way back when is a sign that I’m lacking now?
But most days nowadays? I’m grateful to know what my body needs, when it needs it. And I wouldn’t trade my Savasana now for my Supta Virasana then any day.