One of my favorite yoga teachers always says, “Respect your body’s limitations. Any sharp pains should be a signal to stop or adjust what you are doing. But, aside from that – push yourself to get to the fullest expression of the pose that you can and your practice will heighten by leaps and bounds.”
Most of the time I put my all into the practice. Most of the time. Sometimes, it is really hard to get there. However, knowing that teacher training is 33% over (yikes!!!), I have been really trying to put this into practice even more so lately… and Holy. Crap. On Monday, I had a great practice that focused on prep for hanumanasana (splits). It was amazing. I am naturally quite flexible, but I am out of practice on splits since quitting legit dance 6 years ago. I am not quite at the level of reaching my hands to the sky… but I will be. I felt like I was made of elastic.
Until Tuesday night. At which point, the muscles of my legs became sadomasochists and started yelling, “OHMYGOD it hurts so much! Please do it again!!” Naturally, I thought, “Y’all are crazy. I am going to stretch you and let you hang out back there and let my arms have some of the fun.” At which point, I proceeded to do 18 Sun B’s, spending extra time in chaturanga each time. For those who do not know, Sun B has 3 chaturangas (low tricep push up) per series. So, 3 chaturangas * 18 Sun B’s = 54 tricep push ups (in addition to all the downward dogs). Guess what? Now my arms and shoulders hurt. That is a lot of tricep work! A lot!
Now every muscle in my body is sadomasochistic… except for my abs I guess. Maybe I should do some pilates now and get those into the mix too. Anyway, I got a little distracted there for a minute. The point of this post is – YES – your body/mind may hate you a little bit for a while after you give your practice (whether it is yoga, your relationships, whatever), but the benefit is incredible. Most of the time, you can see a nearly immediate improvement in your status. You will get to places you never thought you would go if you just put your mind to it. Doesn’t get better than that!