Fitness Magazine

Opportunities for Creativity in Your Yoga Practice

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge

by Nina
Opportunities for Creativity in Your Yoga PracticeIn her post My On Again, Off Again Yoga Practice, Gwenn Marie talked about some of the changes she’d experienced lately that were affecting her yoga practice. As I read it, I nodded knowingly because ever since I’ve been practicing yoga there have been changes that temporarily or permanently affected my yoga practice. The first one temporary one was getting pregnant! That was a good change but it strongly affected my practice because I felt both exhausted and so nauseated that the thought of going upside down was just intolerable. So it’s important to realize that people of any age can experience changes—temporary or permanent—that mean making changes to or scaling back a yoga practice (or even stopping temporarily). 
Since that first change, there have been many more changes—most temporary and a few permanent—which have meant that my practice has had to evolve in different ways. I won’t bore you with the litany of different physical problems, some pretty minor, that I’ve had over the years, but you might want to look at this post a while back that I wrote about the permanent affect my arthritis of the hip had on my practice (see Goodbye, Lotus Pose). 
What I wanted to say today, is that even while I experienced some of these changes with a sense of loss, they also allowed my creativity to emerge! I decided to be curious: let’s see, now that I can no longer do x, y, or z, what can I do? And how can I change poses to make them more accessible to me at this time? 
Right now I’m experiencing a temporary though annoying physical problem (I badly sprained my right forearm) that is having a big impact on my practice, not to mention my ability to zip up my own pants. Even though I can’t bear weight on my arms and need to rest my right arm as much as possible, I got down on the floor and thought about what I could do! 
The first day I decided to focus on hip openers and leg stretches, but I couldn’t hold a strap, so I scooted around and rested either my leg up the wall in a doorway (Reclined Leg Stretch version 1), my foot on the wall (Reclined Leg Stretch versions 2 and 3, and Thread the Needle pose), or my foot on a block against the wall (Reclined Leg Stretch version 4. I could go on about what that practice was like and what I figured out the day after that, but the point is that it actually made me happy to come up with these solutions! And I was definitely practicing yoga, even though it was different than what I usually practice. 
It’s also worth saying that when I experience emotional challenges (such as, going through stressful times), I change my practice to address those issues as well. 
So if you yourself experience a change that necessitates modifying your practice, please check our blog for ideas (many of our featured poses have modifications that might help you) or see if you can find some ideas in yoga book that includes use of props (ours will be coming out soon—see Yoga for Healthy Aging Book Now Available for Pre-Order. And if you don’t find what you need, consider getting creative yourself! 
If you come up with a good idea, please do share! You could even send me a photo at nina at wanderingmind dot com. 
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