Yoga: Practice How You Feel
Compare your most prevalent underlying state of being with the yoga routines you find most comfortable, and chances are there will be some parallels. Passive personalities tend to feel at home with gentle flows, while those who tackle life’s issues head on gravitate towards power yoga. And the similarities can be looked at even closer when analyzing your level of comfort during specific postures.
Child’s Pose, for instance, is a restorative posture in which one feels safe and supported. This is so because your heart is protected, and your face is hidden from the world. It’s natural to enjoy being in this position; but it’s important to gauge your emotional reaction when in postures that leave you vulnerable. For example, those who go through life by putting up walls between them and the world likely find backbends uncomfortable because they leave one so exposed.
Now, one of the most fabulous aspects of yoga is that practice allows you to address areas of your life which you would like to change from the comfort of your mat. So instead of beating up on yourself for acting guarded and fearful, start to venture out of your comfort zone on the mat and the changes will naturally be reflected in your relationships with others.
Camel Pose and Wheel can be terrifying. Most people think this is because they’re upside down and bending uncomfortably; but much of the terror results from exposing one’s heart while arms are used to support the body. So start slow and work your way up – not only is this safer on a physical level, but easing your way into being OK with defenselessness might feel safer on an emotional scale as well.
Start with Savasana (Corpse Pose). Simply laying on your back with arms by your side and palms turned up could be enough at first. Next you might want to try working some bridges into your routine and making a conscious effort to keep arms uncrossed when in close proximity to others in public.
Eventually you’ll get comfortable with full and courageous backbends – allowing others to access your heart, all the while knowing you have the strength to keep your head up.