I am thankfully recovering from a sore neck/shoulder and over the past few weeks I've really adapted modifications in lots of the postures. Once we can reopen, or even if you join us for our zoom classes one of the first things you'll notice when you take a class at HYN is the diversity among the people in the room, look even closer and you'll notice there's also diversity in how each person changes postures to suit their individual bodies. These are called modifications.
The option to modify can feel hugely refreshing and also totally foreign. There's no forcing or bullying your body into a posture and most importantly there's no pain. There's no feeling like a failure when you choose to take a modification/variation to a posture. We say in class, when you take a modification its not less than, its more, as you are listening to your body in this moment.
What are modifications?
Modifications allow you to adjust the posture to suit your body's needs. If a posture feels great and challenging in its original form, brilliant - go to your edge! If however a posture causes pain in the joints or discomfort to areas of the body that should feel ease in the posture, its time to modify. We give you options to suit your body's needs to empower you to feel better and still be challenged. Taking a modification ensures that your body is in proper alignment and your muscles are firing as they should. It also prevents you from pushing through pain (that old school approach that only worsens the problem!).
Let's take plank as an example. If you take plank on the floor and you feel your neck and shoulders aching and your lower back tensing up, then you'll lose engagement in the core, and the posture becomes both painful and ineffective. By coming down to your knees or against the wall you'll allowing your entire core, including all the muscles that support your trunk, to engage - all without pain. Modify allows you to gain the benefits of the posture.
Its also soo important to remember that no two bodies are the same. Just as no one else has your dental pattern, it’s also true that no one else has your bone structure, your spine, or your hips. So the most important thing is to listen to your body. Ask yourself "do you feel negative pain? Are you recovering from an injury or working with an injury and not feeling your strongest? Did you just get over a virus and still don't have your full energy back? These are signs that the posture is not ideal for your body today. Maybe it felt fine yesterday, and maybe you will love it tomorrow. That's brilliant - but this moment right now is the only one you should pay attention to. Encourage yourself to listen to what your body is telling your right now, and modify.
Modification also helps us find the balance of ease and effort and this is what makes it a lifelong practice. What I have found very interesting in my own life is that when I take a modification I feel better on the mat and it has a positive ripple effect for the rest of my day.
Next time you take a class, tune in and listen to your body and let us know how you feel.