We all know it: sometimes what you want to do the least is actually what you need the very most.  This has definitely been my experience in yoga.  If I were left to my own devices to practice how I want (ignoring much of the wonderful teachings I’ve received), I would practice a fairly rapid flow class at room temperature, followed up with handstands, headstands, lots and lots of backbends, and a sprinkling of hip openers.  There would be no forward bends, no twists.  I might throw in a bind here and there, but not many and only because I have long arms and open shoulders.  Certainly no seated poses, and no savasana.  This type of practice would include all the poses I already like and am reasonably good at, and avoid all the areas where I could use some help.  So what would I gain by practicing this way?  There is a management theory/career advice that says: do what you’re good at and forget the rest, but I don’t think that translates to your body.  You need your body to work properly and get you through life well, not just a beautiful urdhva dhanurasana.

So instead, I listen to my teachers, and I listen to myself, and I suggest you do the same.  I practice what I’m not good at.  And I’ve found over time, that not only do I actually get better at the poses, but I actually like them now.  (Being able to do a pose does generally make one like it better.)

Practice where you aren’t strong, practice a little where you are strong too.  Practice it all, balance it out.  If are a person who can get scattered mentally and haven’t watched a movie in months because you can’t sit still long enough, you better get to those forward folds and twists.  If you only practice yin and restorative poses, prefer seated folds and long holds, get thyself to a flow class (even maybe try a heated one).

Then, over time and understanding your tendencies, strengths and opportunities for growth, you can learn to balance your moods and support yourself.

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