I love practicing yoga on my birthday! I always seem to have an extra special class, like the yoga itself is a birthday gift. This year my husband came to class with me, making it an even more festive event. It was the hottest class I had taken in a long time and while I loved the class, it took me several days to recover from it! I think I let myself get too dehydrated. Maybe getting older isn’t so great after all. Sigh.
Birthdays always make me feel reflective and looking back, I was happy to see a year of meaningful progress in my yoga practice. Not that my postures improved all that much, but I feel like I found the yoga in the yoga a bit more, if that makes sense.
For example, I learned better control over my breathing during class so that when I am struggling in a posture I can sometimes breathe into it and continue through it, like the teachers say to do. Not always, but more often than before. I wonder if it is a byproduct of my meditation practice, where the focus is entirely on the breath.
Camel has also become less of a nemesis. It is still not my favorite posture by any means, but I don’t dread it the way I used to — plotting excuses to sit the posture out or having an urgent need to blow my nose all of a sudden. It still makes me uneasy, but I now also recognize the benefits I get from it, especially in my hips and lower back. I always feel stiffer on days I skip camel so now I try NOT to skip it. A complete about-face!
My Savasnas have also become richer. I get into them faster between postures and don’t fidget as much when I am in them. I enjoy them more, too, letting the yoga do its magic.
What about goals for next year? My shoulders and chest remain tight and stiff. In fact, my most common corrections these days are things like “lead more with your chest” or “open up your shoulders and then pull.” These sound like impossible tasks at the moment, but with focus and effort, I know they will improve.
Much work remains to be done and that is one of the reasons that I love this yoga. As you move forward in your practice, it allows you to see the next step you need to take. Mine seems to be wrapped up in my shoulders.
Readers, has your yoga practice changed since your last birthday?