Have you noticed that when you are in a yoga class there is a never ending list of things to correct, think and feel? Sounds ironic when this is where a lot of us go to clear our heads! Doesn’t quite add up — right?
Well in my experience, yes and no. If you have been able to hold your attention on moving your body and feeling and observing the sensations within you’ve done a fine job! The moment your mind keeps wandering to your shopping list, what you are going to wear to work tomorrow and what to eat for dinner — well, we all do it, we just need to continue working on diverting our attention back to the breath.
Here are a few other things I’ve learnt to steer clear of on my journey down to my toes…..
x Watching everyone else in the room
It will get you no where fast. That’s their body and their journey — unfortunately their body can’t talk to yours. Always best to concentrate on listening to your own, if you need to watch someone the teacher is your best bet.
x Working through pain — no pain no gain is not cool
When the body has a chat or is screaming at you with a sharp or niggling pain, it is asking you nicely to back out of the pose. Choosing to continue moving through sharp pain will not end with you leaving your mat with inner or outer peace.
x Missing Savasana (the last pose)
Yoga for me this past year has been many days of just savasana and meditation. Those 5 minutes of pure bliss is where all the yoga, the union, comes together. When all you can hear is the rhythm of your breath, feel the melting of your body in to the mat and just ‘space’ between your ears. Not to forget to mention the curling up of the corners of your mouth and those moments when you feel like you are the only person in the room. Learn to work with the struggle ….. it does get easier and I promise you will never look back.
X Berating yourself for not ‘nailing’ that pose
Yoga is not necessarily about nailing that pose. The poses, or asanas, help to relax, tone and stretch the body, resulting in the stilling of the mind and a focus on the impermanent present moment. And on a side note one my teachers says…. are you going to be able to do that backbend at 70?
X Being embarrassed by not being able to straighten your legs in Uttanasana aka Forward Fold
Flexibility is not everyone’s friend, there are some who are born with it (it’s arguable that it’s part of their make up) and then there are those that have to work at, daily. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your practice pay off, when your hamstrings start to loosen as you watch the sweet progress of your fingertips reaching closer to the mat. Either that or that subtle back pain that has disappeared.
YOGA. Yoga and its many teachings.
For me - perhaps resistance to surrender being thus far one of the most memorable teachings of all.
What have you learnt to surrender to in your practice?