Having a physical restriction forces you to become aware of your body and listen to it. This is a gift that many people cannot access, so embrace it! When you can tune in to sensations in your body (perceived as good or bad) you are honoring the connection of body and mind.
Deepak Chopra say this is the first step toward happiness. Awesome!
When you establish this connection you will also become more aware of unuseful tension and unhelpful pain, which will help you adapt your practice to your individual needs. So don’t fear uncomfortable sensations; don’t judge them or try to change them. Simply spend time listening to and observing them to increase your deeper awareness.
Honestly, most of the yogis I know are a little bonkers, (in the best possible way of course)! A lot of us have found the road to yoga through our search for clarity and stillness. For many of us, moments of peace or stillness can get shrouded with the screaming physical pain or uncomfortable thoughts.
The best part here is that the remedy is within you already.
Let your breath be a guide for your practice. If you are holding your breath or breathing rapidly, that is an indication you are straining in a pose. Connecting with the gentle ebb and flow of breath will help to quiet your mind throughout your practice and can be used as a simple meditation or focus point through your life. It is particularly useful during times of stress or anxiety (like sitting in traffic when you are running late)! The more often you connect to your breath, the more connected you will become to your body-mind, a side effect of which is more inner clarity, peace and maybe, just maybe, a little more sanity.
Often when we are feeling insecure in a class our ego can creep up and take hold. There are two ways the ego will respond, either by berating you or by judging others. This is a protective mechanism and quite normal but not particularly conducive to a relaxing or empowering practice. When you acknowledge and accept the limitations within your own practice, it becomes easier to accept them in others. Every single person in the class will be at a different point in their own practice and lives and that is okay. In fact, it is brilliant! It is what makes us unique and simply human.
Yoga is for every single body:
Overall this is what I’m getting at. You don’t have to be beautiful, flexible, physically fit, a dancer in a past life, injury free or even sane to practice yoga! If you are, that's fine too, of course.
You can be completely off your tree with half your body in a cast and you will still be able to practice to some degree. You may not look like the poster-girl (or guy) for yoga that you’ve seen on instagram but you will be honouring your body, mind and spirit in all its guts and glory!