With what attitude do you challenge your body? Can you create balance in your yoga practice between the need to challenge yourself and the need to nurture yourself?
When we practice from a place of pure challenge, the motivation comes from wanting to accomplish or "do" the pose as opposed to simply relaxing in the joy of being in it. We muscle our way into postures that the body is not ready for or we hold onto this idea of what it should look like instead feeling it from the inside out. The breath becomes shallow, erratic or non-existent. We create tension in the mind and body instead of dissolving it and often we end the practice feeling residual tension, agitation and fatigue.
Yoga is nurturing, it's joyful, it's loving yourself. It's knowing that you and your body are on the same team. Practicing to nurture means practicing with just the right amount of effort balanced with equal ease. It's exploring your own edge by challenging yourself just enough that you still hold space to relax and be calm. The breath-your most sensitive BS meter and your greatest ally-stays even, calm and deep. Sometimes it's as simple as backing off just a bit or it may be changing your internal dialogue at that moment. If you are repeating the "This is hard my quad is on fire" mantra it will be hard, it will suck. Instead, draw your awareness back to the breath and find something in the pose to celebrate. Do you feel stronger? Where do you feel more open? Do you feel more balanced and grounded?
In today's practice, move from a place of integrity with an intention to nurture yourself. Explore your edge but without creating more stress. Simply allow your practice to support you.