One of the great things about practicing yoga is that regardless of how you are feeling, there is a sequence, or a posture, or a space, for that moment in time. With its endless variety, styles, and education, yoga is there for you regardless of whether you feel strong or vulnerable, happy or sad, energised or tired, etc.
Over time on my personal yoga and veterinary journeys, I have been constantly encouraged to reflect and consider. Taking a moment to turn inwards and tune in to how one is actually feeling, rather than trying to force oneself to react in a manner of how one should be feeling, is an important step to improving our ability to be self-aware.
Reflection and self-awareness don’t always have to be these deep and time-consuming practices, and the more they become automatic processes for you, the easier it becomes. That being said, take a couple of minutes to take this short and easy quiz, aimed to encourage you to check in with yourself, with a bonus yoga pose at the end!
How do you feel today is going?
A). Really well, you’re having a great day
B). Quite well, you’re feeling good about it
C). Averagely, it’s not the best but nothing bad has happened
D). Not very well, things could be going better
E). Awfully, one of the worst days you’ve had
What is your mindset today?
A). Really positive, you could take on anything
B). Pretty positive, you’re in a good place considering
C). Neutral, you’re on an even keel with some ups, some downs
D). Quite fragile, you’ve had a fair amount to deal with recently
E). Really negative, you’re low and can’t take much more
Mentally take a quick scan of your body from head to toe. What can you feel?
A). Energy and strength
B). Relaxation and ease
C). Nothing amiss but not on top form
D). Tiredness and tension
E). Stress and fatigue
How well have you been sleeping recently?
A). Never better, the solid number of hours you need
B). Well on the whole, can’t complain
C). Usually alright with a few restless nights
D). Quite poorly and you’re feeling the affects
E). Sleep? What is that and when can I get some?
What is your diet like at the moment?
A). Healthy- very well balanced and nutritional
B). Usually very good with the odd day of poor diet
C). About 50:50 good vs poor
D). Mostly poor- sometimes skipping meals or not eating healthy options
E). Unhealthy- regularly missing meals or eating foods which negatively impact your body
Consider how you normally interact with people around you. Has this changed?
A). No, not all, you’re either a social butterfly or happy with time to yourself
B). Not much, you have a bit less time for people than normal but it’s ok
C). You’re starting to withdraw from people at times, or seeking out company when you wouldn’t normally
D). Yes, now you are more prone to irritability or not wanting to engage socially that much, perhaps you feel anxious about it.
E). You don’t want to interact with others at all when normally you would, or you just feel very drained at the moment.
SIDE PLANK POSE (VASISTHASANA)
You’re feeling great at the moment! Put all of that strength and energy to good use by working on building up your foundation, improving your focus, maintaining balance, and attaining stability. Pose of the day: SIDE PLANK.
LOCUST POSE (SALABHASANA)
Things are going pretty well, so you’re in a good mood. Keep yourself in good shape with this pose which encourages strengthening of large muscle groups, a calm state of mind, and an opening of the chest. Be open to possibilities! Pose of the day: LOCUST.
CAT-COW POSE (MARJARYASANA- BITILASANA)
It appears that you are feeling ok, but perhaps could do with shaking things up a bit. Things aren’t great but they could be worse. Use this pose to help you release tension along the spine, connect the mind, body and breath, and encourage a new energy flow to give you a boost. Pose of the day: CAT-COW.
LEGS UP THE WALL POSE (VIPARITA KARANI VARIATION)
Based on your answers you seem to be more ebbing than flowing, which is only sustainable for so long. Take some time out to soothe tired muscles, relax the mind and body, and set yourself up for a good night of sleep. Consider how you could make some positive changes, and don’t hesitate to seek help from your support network (or see Vetlife details below). Pose of the day: LEGS UP THE WALL.
CHILD’S POSE (BALASANA)
Your mood is very low at the moment, and there is no weakness or shame in struggling. It sounds like you need to be gentle with yourself, and look at ways you can get some help. Take a few deep breaths in your pose of the day: CHILD’S POSE, so that you can feel safe for a moment, and then please reach out to a friend, family member, or get in touch with Vetlife anonymously (0303 040 2551, www.vetlife.org.uk)
Disclaimer: This is designed to get you to think about your inner state and circumstances. Please do not do the pose recommended if you have any of the contraindications listed on the pose page. Feel free to do more than one pose or a full practice if you want to!