Ironically, the 3 common oversights I am addressing here can happen precisely as you are trying very hard to be conscientious about exercising and building healthy habits. The root problem of all oversights comes from starting the building process without clearing the harmful habits you have developed over time.
As a result, you spend time, energy and money yet the results don’t show up or don’t have staying power and naturally confusion or discouragement can follow.
Did this ever happen to you?
It is like building a beautiful house on bad foundations. Sooner or later, trouble starts showing up. The work offered at Off-The-Mat-Yoga is addressing the foundation of all movements precisely to avoid unnecessary trouble to show up for you on or off the mat!
With a good foundation, you end up with Simple, Integrated and Elegant Movements and Poses!
FIRST COMMON OVERSIGHT: MUSCULAR-OVERDOING
Muscular-overdoing is not always pure oversight.
Sometimes you choose to overdo because you think of it as pushing your limits to be strong. And it does show strength of character and will power. However, in doing so, you overlook the input of your innate body wisdom. You know how inefficient it is to talk and listen to someone at the same time, right? So when you focus on doing the pose the way you think it ought to be, you are listening to your mind and you miss out on hearing the whispering guidance of your body wisdom . And if you are not listening to the innate wisdom of your body, at the service of what part of you, are you placing your will power?
Your postural mechanism is designed to function so you can move with the appropriate amount of tension for each movement during every activity. Yoga is no exception. You can assess how in tune you are with your body wisdom by how fluid and light your movements are or how easily you find your sweet spot when on the mat.
As a yoga practitioner, if you do not know how to let your postural mechanism work for you, you are putting a lot of unnecessary stress on your body. While you are working on building up strength and balance, you are also actively building unnecessary muscle tension.
Using props, working with a Thai Yoga therapist or an Alexander Technique teacher can help you progressively expand your motion range without sacrificing your skeletal alignment and without interfering with the optimum functioning of your postural mechanism.
Overstretching is also a form of muscular overdoing or excess tension. In fact, did you know that too much tensing or stretching actually weakens your muscles natural tone and interferes with the efficiency of your postural mechanism? It is one way that gets you in trouble on-or-off the mat. It is also placing your will power at the service of your human limited mind or ego mind. It is using blind will!
Working on expanding your growing edge however, is not overdoing, when done in harmony with the innate wisdom of your body. Then, it is placing your will power at the service of wisdom. It is using wise will!
This being said, some of you may not want to overdo, still you find yourself straining into a pose. Due to daily movement habits, you may not even realize you are straining, yet later on your body hurts or feels tight. This type of overdoing on the mat can be caused by unconscious or semi-conscious skeletal misuse carried over from how you handle your body off the mat.
How do you develop such skeletal habits, and how can you improve skeletal alignment without using muscular effort?
This will be the topic of my next blog on Skeletal Misuse & Solutions!