Using Curiosity to Deepen Your Yoga Practice
Are you curious what my blog is about this week? Well you are in luck, it is about curiosity in your yoga practice. Why be curious, how does that help? When you practice yoga, most of us would like to come out of class feeling more relaxed, stronger, less pain.... but what happens when we stir up sensations that we would rather not feel? This is really what yoga is about, feeling everything that arises & meeting it. So it is helpful to be curious about what we feel. To see if we move slightly this way, or focus our breath that way, how that can change the sensations we are feeling. When we explore in this way, we can not only stay safer in our practice, but we can meet the difficulties & move through them & that is when true change occurs. Here's a part of a blog that give a great idea of curiosity in our practice & beyond.
3. Curiosity and Reflection
As we improve in our ability to notice and accept our experiences, we enter a practice of self-observation. Awareness of ourselves—of how we pay attention and how we react—often arises on the mat when we devote time to ourselves. Curiosity towards our experience, and our reactions to our practice, occur when we create space between stimulus and response. We notice things arising within ourselves that we weren’t aware of before. We see patterns of likes, dislikes, thoughts, emotions and feelings. We become aware of our habits and tendencies, whether it is with the way we always land our feet in Warrior One or our harsh self-criticism for not balancing in Tree pose.
To move this practice into our daily lives, we must strive to maintain this curiosity and reflection on a continual basis. Nurture observations with investigation and deep reflection. A tried and true tool for practicing curiosity and reflection is to keep a journal. You can physically write on paper, type on your electronic device, or record yourself on audio or video. We find the best way to journal is to have a guiding topic or question. Give yourself time to freely express thoughts about this topic as they arise; have no expectations and don’t worry about grammar or style. Give yourself space to declutter your mind by expressing yourself in a new format.
Another article that goes a bit more into how you can explore this.
Curiosity As A Tool In Practicing Yoga
Curiosity And Its Role In Practicing Yoga
Curiosity is an essential skill that encourages joy in everyday life. It’s one of the things that can stoke the fire of inspiration to try new things and break out of any comfort zone. Although curiosity might not be the first thing that comes to mind for yoga, it can enrich anyone’s practice. Here are a few ways you can encourage curiosity the next time you get on your mat.
Explore how different movements affect your experience…
The body can move in so many different ways. Finding new approaches to movement can be a great way to satisfy curiosity. Exploring a healthy range of motion is the perfect way to keep a yoga practice feeling fresh and inspired. When I was in India one of my biggest takeaways from the eastern perspective was how simple many of the primary movements were. Joint movement can be very beneficial for the joint surfaces and structures while encouraging a sense of curiosity. Something as simple as knee bending or wrist flexion/extension can be done alone or during a specific pose. The possibilities are nearly endless!
This might leave you to think “Ok Emily, what about injury?” Recently, I wrote a blog article on alignment. One of the things I emphasized is the need to avoid assumptions. Everyone is built so differently. Everything from the structure of the body (the bones) to the support system (ligaments, tendons, muscles) can vary in length, consistency, depth, and a whole host of other variables. Part of cultivating curiosity in your practice is to honour your unique practice based on your structure.
Discover how curiosity connects to breath…
Most yogis understand that breath is one of the most important parts of a yoga practice. Breath might seem like it’s “set in stone” but there’s actually many variations. Different traditions have varying perspectives about when to inhale and when to exhale. Although there may be a traditional or conventional way to breath it might be worthwhile to try exhaling when you normally inhale or vice versa. Cat/cow is a great place to switch up an inhale and exhale, it can create a whole different experience! To incite curiosity you can even try closing your eyes. This might make you more aware of what is happening in your body as you move with each breath.
How do you encourage curiosity in your yoga practice?
by Emily Kane, ERYT500, Yogacara Teacher Trainer
I'm always curious how others see & explain ideas that relate to yoga, so hope their words & mine give you pause to rethink what you do on the mat & in life. Ideas come from so many places, & I even saw an interview with Alan Alda yesterday, & he was speaking about curiosity & how it is essential in communication. I love how life presents what we are thinking about & gives us more opportunities to learn about it. He stated how curiosity is such an essential part of living life & even how we communicate with each other can change with curiosity. Next time someone is speaking to you, instead of thinking your side of things, or how you feel about what they are saying, take a moment to say, I'm curious about what they are saying & where it is coming from. To really listen & it may change how you see their argument or change your response. This is practice is even more important when we have a different point of view from another. We can talk over each other trying to be heard & convince them we are right & they are doing the same to us. Next time, try to be curious & be open to all possibilities to learn & expand your knowledge. It may not change your point of view, but it can allow the other person to really be heard & they will be more open to listening to you & your views. Even when we don't agree, curiosity can help us to understand each other more & that can change everything. Whether in yoga or life, being curious can be the key to connection & understanding, to understand ourselves & other in a deeper way. -- Namaste,
Anne Cox E-RYT