At one time or another, you will probably need to adapt or modify your yoga practice due to injury or illness. And most likely, you may resist. Even if it means you are in pain.
Kathleen Allen’s book The Danger of Resisting Change notes: “As humans, we have interesting and powerful ways of resisting adaptation….In fact, resistance seems to be part of the process.”
But eventually, she continues, the need for adaptation must win out. We can look to nature to see why. Nature only rewards survival to species and plants that are “best fit” with changing conditions. We can choose to adapt and survive, or to whither and die.
If we want our yoga practice to survive as we go through life, it needs to morph and change. You might need to limit your range of motion or back off from intensity as you heal. You might need to stop doing a pose a certain way or even altogether if you find it’s causing you pain.
Instead of feeling bad about what we’ve “lost”, I think we should be proud of our ability to personalize our practices. You are unique. And your practice is too. And to me, an advanced yoga practitioner is one who knows their body well enough to stop doing anything that may be harming it.
The “no pain, no gain” mentality doesn’t work in yoga. I suggest an alternative motto. “Refrain from pain.” And in doing so, your joy in doing yoga will become limitless.