Yoga Basics Part 2: Listen to Your Body

Listen2URBodyWhen I have a conversation with someone who has yet to experience Yoga, their first words are about the Yoga poses. They explain that they are not flexible enough to do Yoga. Then I have to explain that (1) you practice Yoga in order to develop flexibility and (2) there is more to Yoga than just the poses. That last statement garners a puzzled look from the person. “What could be more important than the poses?” they ask.

In Part 1, we learned that Pranayama (Breathing) is the most important aspect of Yoga, and the first thing you should learn.  In this post, we discuss the second most important aspect of Yoga.

The Second Most Important Aspect of Yoga

In Yoga classes, the teachers are there to lead and teach you; however, it is up to you how far, deep, and long you go. The second most important thing to remember about Yoga is that you LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Yoga is not a competitive sport. There are so many different body types that everything doesn’t work for everyone. That is why, Yoga is solitary and you are not competing with anyone else. You cannot base what you can and cannot do on the other participants of the class, your teacher, or who you see on television.

Your body tells you what you can and cannot do. Your duty is to listen to your body, and stop when your body says STOP. Yoga teaches you to be patient with yourself and your body, to be aware of where you and your body, and to accept you and your body at this moment. Consistent Yoga practice makes your more flexible, more aware, and it soon gets easier to get into poses that were harder for you.

Respect Your Body

Don’t be rude and crude with your body. Be patient and listen. Your limbs should not be shaking. You should not be in excruciating pain. You must develop a healthy balance between knowing when to stop and knowing when you can delicately push yourself further. Your body needs more than just to mimic the poses that you see. The benefits of Yoga are working internally even when your external doesn’t look how you want it to look or do what you want it to do. What you see on the outside is the end result. Inside your organs are getting massaged, your immune system is getting stronger, your respiratory system is more robust, your heart is heartier, your spine is more durable, and you are gaining more energy.


Listen to, be in tune to, and respect your body. Know your limitations. Be patient with your body. Give yourself time to become comfortable. Celebrate every change, internal and external. Don’t focus on what you cannot do; instead, encourage yourself.  Be consistent in your practice and keep learning. Always let your teacher know before class if you have any injuries or ailments. Adhere to your body…it’s the only one that you have.

Yoga Basics: Part 1  
Yoga Basics: Part 3

© 2009 KaTrina Love Abram


One response to “Yoga Basics Part 2: Listen to Your Body

  1. This is very good advice. Once I learned this, yoga became a lot more enjoyable for me.