Some of you might flinch when reading this title and think “Yoga is not a fashion accessory, thank you very much!” and you are certainly right but what I am trying to hint at is the necessity for less rigidity in our practice in general.
Some of you might have fallen in love with more structured styles of yoga such as Ashtanga or Bikram; some of you might enjoy the mind-boggling sequences of Dharma Mittra yoga or you might be used to practicing solely Vinyasa Flow or Hatha yoga. All these various styles have their place and there is not need to make one sound superior to the others. They have all found a following and respond to the various needs of various personalities.
While a regular practice of our choice is essential to build our willpower and bring about physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits, it is important to remember to listen to our bodies and our intuition.
On the days when you feel a bit low, despondent or unwell, it can be really nice to focus on simple breathing exercises and nurturing poses since a challenging set of sequences would only aggravate your mood and leave you feeling exhausted. During these times, coming back to basics can truly feel wonderful, especially for more seasoned practitioners who are used to work mostly on advanced poses. So when low energy or moral comes to pay you a visit, swapping your intensive practice for a restorative session is likely to give birth to a renewed sense of appreciation toward yourself and a delicious feeling of serenity.
When the opposite happens - you are wired up, angry or frustrated - why not let some steam out with a dynamic practice? Use this raw and primal energy to fuel your determination and transform it through focussing on an object: your body in asanas in conjunction with your breath. Your mind might put up a fight at first but as you persevere, it will soon feel less and less agitated and clarity of mind will replace confusion. Channelled in the right way, this energy can be a source of positive changes but if it has no outlet, it tends to lash out in all directions and can be pretty destructive to yourself and the people around you.
Then again on some days, you might be in a more contemplative, studious mood, so you could make your physical practice a little shorter - unless you have lots of time and are able to just add on to it! - and read an inspiring text or article, then take the time to reflect on it. You could also decide to devote more time to meditation, finding a comfortable sit and using a technique which works for you.
Anyway, you get the gist and the options available are endless. So let’s allow our practice to be more organic and expand beyond our habitual set-up. We will find more freedom and get our creativity to blossom in the process. After all, everything is yoga!