In my own practice, I can have the same routine for a while then suddenly one day my body will start wanting to do something new. When this happens, I experiment with new flows and poses. This usually leads to an expansion in my routine of some sort. The expansion isn’t always huge or drastic. Often, in fact, it is a small tweak, a simple optimization, that connects two different flows together in an intuitive way. Often, a new pose that I have been doing independent of my daily routine will suddenly find its way into my flow.
Whatever it is let it happen. There will come a point when your routine will want to expand. It will probably surprise you how it happens, but it is important that you listen to your body so the transition happens smoothly and intuitively. It is exciting in this sense; you don’t expect change to happen, but it does. The change leads to a more complete practice in a sense. The change is tailored to your personal needs. Don’t resist the expansion. Listen and flow with it.
Listening to your body is an art.
In order to feel the body’s needs it is required that you to listen on a deep level. I don’t mean that you execute every desire as it comes up. This would waste a lot of energy. Instead you start listening to what the body is telling you. Sensing the body’s true needs requires that you have an understanding of how it works and that you have the discernment between true needs and wants.
As you start listening, you may not have much of an idea of what your body really needs. Stay tuned into the breath and seek to flow naturally and you will start to recognize its rhythms. This very closely linked with allowing the breath to guide the practice. The body and breath are very closely linked and listening to can help lead to the other.
The mind should not lead the practice.
Yoga is about being quiet and focused: physically and mentally. Yoga quiets the mind so the body and breath can flow naturally. The mind would like to put the breath, body and practice into a box and have it be like a workout. This isn’t yoga. It is good to have a general structure around yoga such as doing yoga for 45 minutes or doing 10 sun salutations. But don’t let the mind direct your practice.
The goal is to flow naturally and intuitively from pose to pose, while letting the breath and body guide the practice. Let the body be a boat and the breath the captain, and the mind be the ocean. Sometimes the seas are rough, and sometimes they are calm. No matter what, though, the captain should be calm and easy and while the boat remains strong and steady.
Yoga brings you in towards your center, in towards yourself, so you can pursue your true desires and wishes. Yoga is great for the physical body, but it is more about the mind, the breath, and the energy field of your body. Yoga brings you into your body’s core and, at its highest state, unites you with the world.
There is no separation of internal and external in the highest state of yoga. Yoga means Union. Union of yourself and the world. Union of opposites. Whichever way you phrase it, yoga leads to a more unified state of being. A state in which you recognize that the external world is a direct reflection of your internal state of being.