One of the most valuable bits of yoga advice for any level of yogi is that your breath is your companion. It’s the one thing that is always with you, and can guide you both on and off the mat. If your breathing is strained or shallow on the mat, you’re probably pushing yourself too hard and need to back off and soften the pose a little. Listen to your body’s natural queues so you don’t injure or strain a muscle. Off the mat, perhaps you’re feeling stressed. Take a few moments to breathe deeply to focus and ground yourself.
If you’re anything like me and keep a daily yoga practice because you love how you feel after a practice and or suffer from mental illness, then you can understand the need to ensure that you move safely and don’t injure yourself. If I personally miss more than a day or two I start feeling manic and depressed, hence the near daily yoga to keep me off any sort of anti-depressants. I listen to my breath and remind myself to move with “Sukha” [ease], fluidity, grace, and pay attention to what my body and my breath are telling me. Not to say anyone is perfect, I know I am not, and sometimes we end up with an injury on or off the mat…but do what you can to prevent it and your body will thank you in kind.