Start by becoming aware of how you are feeling at any given time. Maybe you’re tired from a late night, or sore from the Wood class you took yesterday … maybe you’re recuperating from an injury or coming back to your practice after some time off... or maybe you’re feeling strong, hydrated, and ready to go! Become mindful of how these feelings change even throughout the same class. Now listen carefully to your teacher’s words. They are precisely chosen. Instructors at Sunstone Yoga are trained to help you find your alignment in each posture and to get you into and out of postures safely. We focus on strength before flexibility, keeping our muscles engaged throughout a posture. A great example is learning to create a strong standing leg - crucial to preventing injury. Enter your practice mindfully. Whether you are feeling 100% or recovering from a surgery, notice what happens with each movement and make adjustments accordingly. This may entail standing quietly in Mountain pose, lying in Savasana, or kneeling in Child’s Pose during postures you are not ready to do yet. Give yourself permission to not go “all the way” into postures as you build strength in order to maintain alignment. Allow yourself to develop your practice over time. Your teachers want to challenge you, but you choose how to act on their encouragement. Become more aware and do only what your body is able to do in this moment. Even if you could kick out in Standing Forehead to Knee yesterday, your hamstrings may be tight today. Be okay with this. Judgement and negative self-talk can often lead us to make decisions we later regret. When we are attuned to our bodies’ limits and accepting of them, we create healthy, self-imposed boundaries and expectations that later allow us to grow. We are less likely to over extend ourselves just because we feel we “should” or because the person next to us has a different range of motion and more likely to correctly assess the right moment to advance our practice and embrace our potential. Accept where your body is in your practice today. Stay engaged. Listen to the words and follow the cues. Check in with yourself throughout class to assess how you’re feeling. Feeling lost in your postures? Maybe it’s time for you to try a workshop . Throughout the year, you have the opportunity to practice with Sunstone teachers as they re-certify to teach Fire, Wood, Earth, and Metal -- and as a participant you’ll get tons of hands-on adjustments and guidance from not just our teachers but our Series Masters (the instructors charged with teaching your own teachers)!