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What Your Asana Practice Can Tell You About Your Life

Need a New Year’s resolution—or a fresh intention any day of the year? YJ Influencer and psychologist Lauren Taus suggests looking to your practice to identify personalized goals that are also applicable to the rest of life.

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However you usually prepare (or don’t) for January first, there is an energy of renewal in the air that you can leverage into authentic empowerment and purpose. While you likely have a great deal of clarity around the personal spaces and places that require refinement or improvement in your life, you may not realize that your asana practice is full of hidden direction and deep wisdom. While I realize that no body is the same, in more than a decade of teaching yoga, I have noticed some general movement types. And as a clinical therapist, I’ve also noticed that they tend to correlate with certain personalities. Read on to see if you identify with one or more of them below and which simple changes to your patterns might open up more joy and fullness in your life.

The Fast Yogi

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The fast yogi is most often found in a power practice, and frequently in a heated room. This yogi struggles to hold postures, both active and passive, but he or she will often add extra Chaturangas, ab work, and arm balances. For many of the fast yogis, Savasana is not only low on the totem pole of yoga’s benefits, it is sometimes considered a complete waste of time. These students might leave class before the end or they might lie with their eyes wide open, planning the rest of their day.

Does this sound like you?

If you’re a fast yogi, you may also find the following describe you: Are you constantly on the go? Are you difficult to satisfy? Is falling asleep a challenge?

The best intention for you

If you answered yes to the questions above, you might consider an intention or resolution to slow down. Note: It won’t be easy. Offer yourself kindness, a gentle space to relax into as you move toward this shift. Meditation and restorative yoga are excellent goals for the fast yogi, ones that will yield greater dividends than more speed or handstand.

See also Vinyasa 101: Is Your Yoga Class Too Fast?

The Slow Yogi

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The slow yogi shows up to class and moves at a sluggish pace. To be clear, the slow yogi is not recovering from injury or disease, but for other reasons, he or she regularly takes long, unnecessary breaks and disconnects from the group flow with frequency. This student is most often in Child’s Pose or Savasana.

Does this sound like you?

If your practice is on the slower side, consider whether you have a hard time moving through life. Is getting up in the morning a challenge? Do you struggle with depression? Do you speak up for yourself when needed?

The best intention for you

You might make certain goals around exploring your edge in movement and playing with some more challenging shapes. Doing so will help you explore and discover your power. The hope is that this experience translates into an exploration of bigger possibilities off the mat. Sometimes, a little fire is all that’s needed for empowered transformation.

See also Fast Forward Your Yoga Practice to Burn Calories, Build Muscle

The Sloppy Yogi

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The sloppy yogi is visually disconnected from his or her body. This student often confuses right and left and may be totally dumbfounded by cues like straighten your leg. These seemingly basic challenges are not a reflection of the student’s intelligence, but they do indicate a great opportunity for more integration.

Does this sound like you?

If you often feel totally confused in yoga classes, you may struggle to listen to your body in general. Do you struggle to connect to your gut? Is intuition a foreign concept to you?

The best intention for you

If this all sounds familiar, your goals might be as simple as more frequent practice. Make an intention in each class to pay attention to how you feel. Noticing something as simple as your quads engaging can merit personal applause because you are gaining more access—to YOU. Over time, you will move with more clarity and precision in all areas of your life. There’s more wholeness on the other side of a sloppy practice, and who doesn’t want that?

See also Hone Your Intuition: 12 Poses to Activate Your Third-Eye Chakra

The Rigid Yogi

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The rigid yogi often stays out of the practice altogether. When he or she does show up to a group class, this student struggles to move with the rest as their range of movement is severely limited.

Does this sound like you?

Do you struggle to touch your toes in a forward bend because your hamstrings are so tight? Do you think yoga isn’t for you because you don’t yet have the flexibility to get into some of the seemingly more basic shapes? Are you an avid runner or previous athlete with strong, but rigid mobility range? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re a rigid yogi and you have a wonderful opportunity to quite literally open up through the practice.

The best intention for you

Make regular practice a goal, even just some light stretching at home can make a monumental difference in a short period of time. While the process of unraveling tension in your body can be immensely challenging and sometimes demoralizing, you stand to gain improved health and mobility as well as flexibility in life. The simple discovery that you have the power to transform your body may also illuminate what’s possible off the mat.

See also 8 Myths That May Be Keeping You from Practicing Yoga

The Consistent Yogi

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The consistent yogi is married to routine and often found in Bikram or ashtanga rooms where they know exactly what to expect every time. The consistent yogi can become overly dependent on certain teachers or class times.

Does this sound like you?

If you think you’re a consistent yogi, you might consider if you’re also a person that struggles with spontaneity in life. Do you always go to the same places? Do you eat the same foods at the same restaurants all the time? How much routine do you have in your life? And would leaving your comfort zone bring some needed color and spice to it?

The best intention for you

If you answered yes to most of these questions, push yourself outside your comfort zone a little. It doesn’t mean leave your loves behind, but try other yoga studios, classes, and teachers. You might stumble across some gems that help you grow and become new favorites. Who knows what kind of transformation it could spark?

See also 4 Secrets for Overcoming Fear and Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

See also 10 Things Burning Man Taught This Yogini About Life

Want to practice with YJ Influencer Lauren Taus? Direct message her @lauren.taus to secure your spot to #BendinBliss February 15–19 @habitastulum.