Modifications on the Mat

I used to be one of those people who HAD to do the hardest version of every pose. 

The reason was twofold: to challenge myself, but also to prove my strength. While that hasn't entirely changed, I have made a few modifications. Lately, I've been opting to step rather than jump when given the option to "jump or step your way back to plank."

Sometime in the last few months, I finally started listening to my body a bit more rather than powering through everything (ahem, taking an active rest day). And many days, I notice it feels much more natural to step back to plank rather than jump. 

With this little change, I've also found that I no longer look down on the "easier" version of poses. Some days, easier is better. 

The point is, no matter how small the change is, listening to your body can be a game changer. It can shift the way you see yourself and what you "have to do" in life or on the mat.

Have you had any revelations lately while on a run, laying on your yoga mat or spinning on the bike?

In the early days when I only ran alone, I used to say running was the cheapest therapy. And in a lot of ways, I still agree. Solo, uninterrupted time is much too sparse in our daily lives.


I haven't had any revelations lately on my runs, but that is where i tend to do my best thinking! I am enjoying this last month of solo running as my run club starts up again on Feb 29th! I won't do all 3 workouts w/ them as I can't give up 2 weeknights of studying, so I will still likely run by myself 1-2 times/week, which is good for me with my stress level right now!
Thanks to some great teachers, I actually learned very early on in my "practice" that the supposedly easier pose versions actually help you learn alignment and correct postures. Jumping right into the hard stuff usually means we compromise a few things. The poses and modifications I take vary with EVERY class - totally depends on how I feel that day.

We also had a teacher recently who showed us how to correctly "jump" back into plank - ha, it's supposed to be very gentle and flowy...not the jolting way most of us were doing it. ;)

Anyway, this lesson is always valueable, and we all need the reminder more often than not!
missris said…
My level of intensity varies with every class I take. Some days I'm more sore, some days I have more or less energy, and I try to adjust the difficulty of my poses to reflect that. Although it's still hard to avoid the mentality that I'm "competing" with the people who are doing the harder versions of poses!
jen said…
I think this is great. Not everyone's bodies are exactly the same, and of course some poses are more natural than others for different people. There is nothing to "prove" in yoga, and the more you can step away from that competitive, striving mentality, the closer you get to actually achieving the goal of yoga!

I'm modifying lots of stuff these days, but pre-pregnancy I was always a big block-user. In triangle or in lunges, it just makes me feel more stable.

I don't care how I look when I modify poses. In fact, I think maybe someone will feel more comfortable modifying something themselves since they see someone else doing it?
J said…
Agreed - Sometimes its hard but I know that I need to listen to my body and not always do the full poses. Its hard not to look around and see others doing the harder poses and I know I shouldn't or can't. Its definitely a process to let yourself go easy.
Anonymous said…
Hmm...I realized the other day at spinning that I was now more grateful for what I could do (spinning) than what I couldn't (running). I spent so long angry over not being able to run. When my thinking (unconciously) switched to what I could do rather than what I could not, life got better...
In a class I went to a couple of weeks ago the theme was "moderation" and the instructor said we HAD to sit out at least one pose and that was soo hard for me!! Also on Wednesday morning my shoulders were still really sore from my snowboarding tumbles and I had to modify the chatarunga's to the knee on the floor version and that was also hard to do mentally - but sometimes it's necessary!
I used to try the hardest version of every pose, but I've been tonight it down for a while too. Maybe that's an "I'm getting older and wiser", maturity thing.

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