When practicing Ashtanga, we usually don’t use any other resources but our body and breath. However, from time to time I find it quite useful to get some support. Never to force the body into something, but some help to get used to a certain posture.
It can also be beneficial particularly for rather stiff bodies, to simply extend the arms, which might enable them to get a better understanding of the posture.
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Well, I can’t give a clear yes or no, as I believe the most important thing is to listen to your body. It’s always crucial, but in that situation, mindfulness is mandatory. Never ever force anything only because your ego tells you to practice no matter what. Bullshit.
It’s that time of the year in this part of the world where we’re facing colds and flu and it hit me too last weekend. My body felt very weak, but same time shouting for some deep stretches. I listened and practiced gentle yin yoga. It felt good. Next day, no practice at all. My body was fighting and clearly needed nothing but proper rest. Today I’m feeling a bit better and asked my body what to do. I wasn’t sure. I went onto my mat, started a bit of warm up and stretching, followed by some sun salutations. I was surprised to have the energy and strength for it. However, there’s no point in overdoing! I continued listening to my body to figure out what it needs and how much. I ended up with yin again, so a bit of both and it felt perfect.
When practicing Ashtanga, it’s quite tough to decide for a different practice. Yogis out there, it’s important. Always listen to your body, not your ego. Only do what supports your health. Otherwise everything might even go worse. Another indication is your breath. If you can’t breathe properly, don’t practice anything that requires e.g. ujjayi breath. Better not practicing at all or gentle yin or just stretching, if that feels good. Maybe meditation is your choice of practice!
Are you using essential oils? They help me a lot, not only taking them internally to support fighting the cold, but also to breathe. I put two oils in my diffuser today while practicing: Air and Petitgrain. A great support for my breath! Text me if you want to know more about it.
Yogis, stay healthy and always decide and practice mindfully!