For me, yoga is a way to get out of my head and into my body, and often I find slower-moving practices to be a more challenging way of making this happen. When I slow down, I have the time and space to focus on each aspect of my practice in detail. What’s happening with my breath, with my alignment, my state of mind? How are my transitions happening as I flow from one pose to the next? Slower-moving practices have their own challenges, and one of them is a challenge of meditation: how to practice releasing the thoughts that come up when the body is still. I love revisiting basics and foundational practices for the same reason—returning to what you already know and approaching it from a new perspective can be a good way to check in with yourself. When you’re not focusing your energy on learning something brand new and are instead exploring something familiar from a new angle, you can find a different perspective. It’s challenging and exhilarating to explore faster-paced classes and more advanced practices as well– learning new asanas and sequences is a rewarding experience that nourishes body and soul, and teaches you that your limits and abilities continue to change over time. But slowing down, and revisiting the familiar both connect you with yourself in other ways. It can be just as rewarding to re-situate yourself in the foundations of your practice as it is to challenge yourself to expand your skills. And a meditative practice can be just as challenging– if not more so– than an intense vinyasa flow. In yin yoga and other similar practices, additional time devoted to each pose creates more space to pay attention to what’s happening in your body and mind, like taking a microscope lens to your practice and zooming in on all the tiny details.
So next time you stop by the studio, or get on your mat for a home practice, consider a practice that takes more time to move from one asana to another. You may be surprised at what you experience. And if you’re looking to delve more deeply into your yoga foundations, you might consider the upcoming Asana Workshop at KYC from 1:00 to 3:00PM on May 19th.
Written by Grace Martin
Grace Martin is a library assistant and aspiring writer who loves food, fiber arts, and reading any book she can get her hands on. She was drawn to yoga in early 2017, and enjoys incorporating aspects of meditation and ritual into her practice. She has lived in Keene for the past two years.