We have had a wonderful celebration weekend, with Ramona’s birthday on Saturday and a big Holi party on Sunday. It was lots of coloured powder, lots of coloured water and lots of fun! Everybody enjoyed it very much. Yashendu also gave the yoga workshop to the participants of the Ayurveda Yoga Holiday and in that time I remembered another incident that I wanted to tell you about.
Once in a healing session, someone asked me about a certain yoga practice. He had heard that one of his teachers was able to remain in each yoga pose that he did for a complete half an hour.
‘But when I try this, I start getting pain so quickly. I bend forward in Paschimottasana and my back hurts, I sit in Padmasana, the lotus seat and my knee hurts, I am in the shoulder stand and my hips start aching. What can I do to reach that level?’
As he asked me for my opinion, I did not hold back with it. I told him that I thought this idea was completely wrong, simply a wrong approach to any physical exercise and definitely a wrong way to practice yoga.
First of all, there are many poses which are physically harmful if you hold them for such a long time. There are postures for example that hurt and injure your joints after a certain time because they are twisted in an unusual position which is not how your body is meant to be. Inversion postures, such as the shoulder stand and the head stand, should never be performed longer than ten minutes. These poses are beneficial for you because more blood flows towards the head due to gravity but if you keep it for a long time, this same fact can harm the blood vessels in the head due to the increased blood pressure. What is good for you for a short time is harmful if you do it for that long.
Even if you practice a posture that is medically fine to hold for such a long time, you should never ever exceed the limits of your body. It is not any miracle if someone can do this. The human body is very flexible and you can practice and train it to do nearly whatever you want. But it is wrong. Why would you give pain and hurt to your body in order to force it into an unnatural position for a long time? Yoga is meant to be enjoyed. It is not a competition and it is nothing that is goal-oriented. Feel the benefit of a pose when you are in the pose, no matter how well you can perform it.
Don’t give pain to your body or cross your own limits! Listen to your body and what it tells you, it knows best what is good for you.