You may find the achievements and progression decrease as you learn to just be in the asana and it is here, as the effort decreases that you find the joy.
When speaking of balance, their are many factors to take into consideration. You first must have an awareness of gravity, as well as a sense of the direction of movement. This awareness must be maintained thru out each and every action. It is here that you will find and maintain your center of gravity. If you overstretch in one direction your center of gravity changes and you must balance your direction of movement to maintain your center of gravity.
This is why it is important in your practice not to collapse or prop yourself through a particular pose of exercise, but to yield equally and in all directions. We all walk into a class with a different story, different developed memories and even an intelligence residing with in our muscles as to how to move or be. It is so important to take time time to reflect on the extension, the alignment and connect with your center of gravity as well as the full body awareness of sensation.
If you move into and out of poses too quickly you miss this very important element of your practice and continue to build on bad habits. You may find that you habitually practice safety, but maybe only on one side, striving to hard to go as far, hold as long or stretch as deep on the other. It is a practice to even out these sides, but it does not guarantee that physically you will ever be able to do so.
Injuries as a yoga teacher are at best an inconvenience and horribly frustrating when they come during your practice. I have not ever had to come back to my practice from an injury as debilitating as a broken tibia. Cultivating patience with myself, with my body and with my practice are first and foremost. Sharing the lessons with you are going to be a gift.
I have had several injuries in the years that I have been practicing yoga. One that I often hear the echos of is a torn hamstring, on as it would be, the same leg as I have broken. I learned thru my own practice using a tennis ball or racquetball and placing it in the belly of the muscle as I worked on seated forward folds brought me some relief. While I was healing from this injury I was subbing at a studio and decided to stay and take the class following mine. Fortunately they had some balls and as the instructor had us on the floor to do some seated forward folds I asked her if she would mind passing me a ball, (they were seated next to her). Would you believe this teacher complained to the owner that I was disruptive to her class! I share this with you only to say that if you are recovering from an injury do what is best for you, not what is best for the instructor. They are they only to guide you to have your own experience, and if you feel the need to use a prop, use it.
The injury by the way, came when I was a new teacher trying to push myself beyond my edge. The instructor was teaching an advanced pose I had never done and I did not take the time to listening, rather I was focusing on the end point.
Another injury from my practice came from an aggressive and over extension of my neck in shoulder stand or possibly from threat the needle. I was convinced that advancing in the pose meant no blankets, and body horizontal to the floor. I was checking on my alignment, connecting with my center of gravity, and reflecting on the extension, but I was ignoring the shooting pain in my arm until the echos of my practice resulted in a bulging disc. Now I no longer practice either of these poses, but find relief in headstand, which by all accounts is contraindicated for a disc bulge, but the way I was taught, it helps me.
The wisdom of the body, we are responsible for our healing as well as for our injury in our practice.
The effort used as beginners is often greater, but as you advance you find greater ease as the physical effort decreases. You may also find the achievements and progression decrease as you learn to just be in the asana and it is here, as the effort decreases that you find the joy.
I have had some really great teachers that have shared amazing lessons that I am able to pass on, and then there are those teachers that have just taught me lessons. Both are responsible for my continued growth as a teacher, educator and guide.
See You, on the mat!
Kimberly Hardick Educator, guide, student and Claynatomist