What a Strong Practice Means to Me

On the subject of teacher training, one thing I valued from my yoga teacher training studies was how much more confident I felt in my practice. Now, I think that would have still come over the years, but focusing on the poses, learning about alignment and really understanding what worked well for me – and talking with my fellow trainees about what worked for them and why – is something that still affects my practice. My experience and growth in understanding the poses has strengthened my practice.

By framing this as a strong practice, I don’t mean the challenging or “tricked out” poses, so to speak. Now certainly there are times when I can go deeper into a crescent lunge or a Warrior II, or feel more controlled and even lighter in a chaturanga. I find that can happen after a more regular practice, tapping into the actual physical strength I’ve built at that time. But there are also times if I’ve been away from my mat for whatever reason and those poses feel more challenging than another week. In those weeks, my practice isn’t any less strong.

The strength I’m talking about here is the ability to know the difference and to account for that in one’s flow. When in those classes where poses may feel challenging that day, I can adjust: I can modify, use props or sink back into child’s pose to take a beat. Or two. There’s a personal strength that comes from listening to the body and, in essence, standing up for it.

I count myself fortunate in that many of my teachers will often invite us to modify and take a pause throughout class if it serves us. They’ve also from time to time reminded us in classes to meet the body where it is that day – just because we did something one way last week, doesn’t mean we can do it the exact same way this week.

However, I have taken other classes where I haven’t heard that reminder. And this is really where the kind of strength I’m talking about can really come into play. Just because a child’s pose isn’t offered, doesn’t mean I can’t take it if I need that pause, that short break/breath with my hips to my heels. I can stand up for that request and take it. Is this strength? A kind of flexibility or resiliency? I like to think it’s all of those things. I know only that for me, it’s a really good feeling when I leave class and know that I took what I needed.

Coming back to the title of this post: What does a strong practice mean to me? It means taking what I need – including rest.  

This is the part of a series of posts for The Mat Yoga Studio, sharing my thoughts and observations as a student only. The views and opinions are my own experience.


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.


  1. I too believe a strong practice means taking what you need and leaving the rest behind. Three years ago, at age 65 , I decided hot yoga was no longer what I needed in my practice. I joined The Mat and never looked back. All the teachers are experienced and remind you to take what you need and leave the rest on your mat. I’m so happy I listened to my body and found what a strong practice means to me at The Mat.

  2. My teacher training not only helped build my confidence it helped me build a new community. I am full of gratitude for everything I have gained from my

  3. What happens on the mat stays on the mat😉 I agree that somedays my practice is on point and other days i may struggle but the finished product is the same. A well deserved hour on my mat❤️🧘‍♀️

  4. All the comments are great. With so many choices we can make for our practice so great to re-evaluate with mindfulness each and every practice and consider where we want our practice to take us. The hot yoga comment is spot on and well said. Re-evaluate and move forward. A strong yoga practice gives us focus and hopefully translates to our daily lives and worldview. Love the comment about struggling. It is always helpful having supportive staff and classmates who never fail to encourage us. One step at a time and each struggle will eventually lead us to success!! A more peaceful world with more yoga!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *