being gentle with our minds

logoIt's easy to notice when our bodies are not prepared for a certain type of yoga class. If you've been holding tension in your shoulders, you might not be in the mood for many Sun Salutations. If you're getting sick or you've spent all day working in the heat, a hot class might not feel very rejuvenating. When certain muscles are tired or tight, it's usually very obvious as we come to our yoga mats.

But when your mind or heart is not prepared to practice, you might not know it right away. Yoga teachers often say, "honor your body" throughout class as a reminder to be mindful of each asana, but we also need to be sure we're honoring our minds and hearts. Though yoga practice is a time to get centered, mental focus sometimes can't be forced. If you're really struggling with something overwhelming, such as job loss, divorce or a death, you may benefit more from time in Savasana than anything else. 

In times of extreme sadness or stress, it's natural to seek out the peace we often find with our yoga, but it's okay if it 'doesn't work.' Sometimes we just need to offer ourselves time for equally extreme gentleness, inside and out. Though yoga can help you along the way, just be sure to take time to rest when your heart needs it.