If you practice yoga for relaxation, stress reduction, or spiritual direction, you probably already think of your yoga mat as a sanctuary apart from your everyday life. Yoga gives us the time and space to clear our minds, reconnect with our inner selves, and practice self-care: activities are easy to overlook in our busy, demanding lives.

Well, that’s how we’d like it to be. In reality, the line between our life and our yoga practice isn’t so clear. It’s not always easy to shrug off our day-to-day concerns at the studio door. Eventually, a bad mood, stressful day, or looming concern will follow us right onto our mat and refuse to leave.

On these days, the best therapy is to simplify your practice. Return to the basics of yoga: breathing, feeling grounded, and observing yourself without judgement or the need to change.

Practicing familiar poses is comforting, and allows the mind to deeply relax. Because these postures are repeated often, they also become strongly associated with positive feelings that we’ve experienced in previous yoga classes. Lastly, your breath can usually be deep and full in these poses, and steady breathing helps steady and quiet the mind.

Advanced postures have a wide range of benefits, but they require a greater amount of physical and mental energy. If you are already feeling overburdened, these poses may be more depleting than energizing. So give yourself permission to do less; it is an invaluable gift.

Come in to Radiance Yoga to slow down and recharge with us. Restorative yoga classes are offered on Wednesday and Friday evening.

[Image source: http://www.doyouyoga.com/5-health-benefits-of-childs-pose/]