Dear Yogi,

My yoga practice has changed over the years, as it should. As we age, grow, and evolve, how and what we practice should also evolve to meet our needs physically, energetically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I simply don’t practice like I used to.

In my 20’s I wanted my ass kicked on a regular basis. All that excess energy needed to be channeled in a good way! A killer, physical practice helped me a lot. Meditating was difficult and inconsistent.

In my 30’s I needed to balance out the demands of being a mom. My meditation time increased and being physical was about balancing out what was happening in the rest of my life: Holding kids, nursing, getting less sleep, etc.

Now in my 40’s, the demands from my kids have shifted again and my body has different needs, too. I feel the effects of time on my joints and muscles, and want to take care of myself in preparation for the next stages of life. I need a practice that is sustainable, healthy and joyful!

The following is a snapshot of what’s working for me today:

  1. I don’t practice asana every day. Shocking, I know. But the days of two-hour practices of Mysore yoga 6 days a week are long gone. I do move my body almost every day, but when it comes to an active asana practice, every other day is great.
  2. When I practice asana, it’s not about pushing my body to its extreme. Because of my body type (the bendy kind), I focus on strength, core alignment (neutral pelvis and spine in a variety of shapes), and keeping my upper body strong. I also work on mobility where I tend to get tight: hips and upper back.
  3. On a regular basis I roll on YogaTuneUp balls and add restorative practices or restorative poses to the end of an asana or meditation practice. My body and nervous system need this.
  4. I get in aerobic movement at least every other day. This has become more important. I can tell my hormones and my lymphatic system need this flush. I either walk/hike, jog, swim or use a machine. Of course I prefer to be outside in nature whenever possible so I can get my nature fix at the same time!
  5. Meditation and breath work (pranayama) are essential! Honestly, this is the most important. My biggest obstacle is my own mind and meditation is the solution. Meditation is where we see all the mental nonsense (and can therefore retrain the neuropathways) and it’s also where we connect to our essential nature – the timeless reservoir within. This is truly what yoga is all about. Meditation gives me so much strength for life and it supports me throughout challenging situations, making everything clear.
  6. I make choices in every aspect of my life that feel in alignment from deep within. I check in with myself about the big stuff and the little stuff. Yoga has taught me to trust my gut. Even when something seems logical yet doesn’t feel right to my core, I listen. This is living a self-guided life. In other words, I feel the years of practice naturally integrating.

These approaches to my physical, energetic, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness are working for me. I feel good, strong, positive and more present than ever.

What’s working for you and your practice? What might you need to change? Only you have the answers for yourself and I encourage you to keep seeking, listening and responding accordingly. Don’t be afraid to outgrow parts of your practice or make changes!

As always, I am here to support you with your practice however I can…

Locally: I post my Marin and San Francisco schedule including substitute dates on Instagram and Facebook by Monday every week. 

Online: The latest offering posted to Nikki Estrada Yoga Online Membership is a level 2 post workout practice. Whether you ran, biked, played tennis or swam, this 30-minute practice will move and stretch your body in all directions. Great for just a well-rounded practice on its own, too! See below for more details about my membership.

Lots of Love & Yoga,