For me my yoga practice is like a microcosm of my life in general and who I am in the world is reflected in who I am on the mat. Sometimes images of yogis or meditators looking at peace, lead people to believe that they will be at peace as soon as they step onto a yoga mat. Whilst yoga will certainly help you to be calmer and more at one with yourself and others this may not always be what you find when you step on the mat. I hear this particularly from people who meditate for the first time but I think it happens in yoga too. I think sometimes people think everyone else just gets it and they are the only one who is distracted.
This is to me part of our current culture at this particular time in our history, we feel we have to be good at everything or at least I do 😉 That is until I notice and tell myself to get real! Anyone who has practiced yoga for a few years will realise that there is always more to learn. Some people don’t believe me when I tell them that I still have things to work on with my standing positions despite having practiced yoga for 15 years. In reality however, I am always noticing more and aligning my body better in subtle yet important ways. This asana refinement is never ending and yet that is not what yoga is about. The refinement is a useful tool for realigning the body and perhaps more importantly the mind. It helps us to tune into what we are doing rather than do it without thinking. It enables us to bring our awareness back into our body and in the context of this post it helps us to realise we are not perfect and more importantly, that this is absolutely fine.
Chasing perfection is like chasing your own tail. It will always be somewhere in the future, meanwhile the real juice of life is right here waiting to be noticed. Hopefully yoga will help us to experience it more.
Sometimes this is easier said than done. Life can throw challenges at us that can make it hard to focus on this moment even with the help of the practice. I think it is important to realise that we all have days when the mind is distracted. My practice was certainly like that today. I had a thought flapping around in my mind that would not go away until it was acknowledged. Mid practice it was so acknowledged that it was having it’s own party. It was at that point that placing that thought in the context of the entire world helped me regain some sense of proportion and then returning to my breath helped me gradually get back to the actuallity of my practice.
I mention this because I feel that some people give themselves a hard time if they get adjusted or if their mind is cloudy or if they can’t relax. They often think that they are the only one that feels like this and because of that the belief we fail to share what we view as our imperfections which means we don’t get to realise we all go through fairly similar things. This is all very understandable and as we take our approach to life onto our mats we may find that some aspects don’t serve us as well as we thought they did. The beauty is that the yoga mat is such a safe place to work this stuff out and we get to revisit it every time we step onto our mat. So next time you feel everything isn’t quite how you thought it should be try and experience it for what it actually is and give yourself a break for making time to be on you mat at all.
One final note many people have said that they would love to comment on this blog but that they feel that their comments are not insightful or interesting enough. This saddens me. If you have something to say, I would love for you to share it on the blog. For one thing you might help the other people who also want to write on the blog find their courage. You will also find as I have that many people are actually thinking similar things and would benefit greatly from hearing your thoughts. We don’t have to wait for the perfect moment, to write the most interesting thing ever, what you have to say write now is perfect in it’s own way.
Do you ever find practice challenging?
Have you found that yoga has helped change your attitudes towards life in general?