Yoga is amazing so, the more the better, right?
Yes. Except when it’s not. Sometimes, we don’t need to do yoga. Sometimes, we need to do something different entirely, or need to do a different kind of yoga.
I got to thinking about this reading a post called “Yoga poses I simply can’t do, and what I do instead“. The point of the article is simple: not everyone has the same body so we can’t all do the same yoga poses in the same way.
Some of us need to modify postures a little, or a lot. Or substitute for another pose. Or just park on the mat and take a breather in child’s pose. None of us should ever feel bad about this, or like we’re doing it wrong.
This applies beyond the studio, too.
There are times when, for our own well-being, we shouldn’t do yoga. The whole point of yoga is to learn to flow with our bodies, ourselves, and our circumstances. If we do it in the wrong situations, or use it to mask feelings that need to be addressed, we muddy its purpose and create an unhealthy energy in our practice.
When should we not do yoga?
- When we are under-nourished.
- When we are exhausted.
- When we have an urgent responsibility.
- If we are using it to block or avoid painful emotions.
- If we are using it to feel superior or powerful.
- If we are using it to punish ourselves.
- If we are chasing an unrealistic body image.
In these emotional states, we need to be honest with ourselves and brave enough to address the real issues. Yoga is a beautiful, healing, energising tool to help us through life. If we try to make it a shield or a weapon against the things we find difficult or scary, we distort its meaning and our relationship to it.
The ethos of yoga is unity and compassion, with starts with ourselves. We should always practice in a spirit of wellness and harmony, not anxiety or evasion.
Share you thoughts on when not to do yoga, in the comments.