I love yoga! I recently had to take a break from yoga due to injuries from a fall. When I finally felt ready to return, I realized just how much I really missed it. I don’t like to exercise. I don’t like to sweat; I don’t like to breathe heavy; I don’t like to get my heart racing; and I especially don’t like the competitive feeling of keeping up with everyone else at the gym. With yoga, I definitely sweat; I certainly focus on my breathing; and my heart rate definitely increases. And yet, I thoroughly enjoy it. While I challenge myself, the only person I need to “keep up with” is myself.
I like that it is called a practice. The word practice holds within it both promise and possibility. The promise that if we practice, we will improve. And with the promise of improvement comes the possibility of greatness.
And yet yoga insists that we check our egos at the door. It allows us to be perfectly imperfect.
By calling yoga a practice, we come to understand it is a life-long process, and there is no finish line. There is no perfect pose; there are only poses that are perfect in each moment for each individual. This realization frees us from outside pressures and we turn our focus inward. We listen to the crankiness of our own bodies and make adjustments as they protest a pose. We focus on our breathing and forget the mindless chatter. And we listen when our spirit sighs in gratitude as we open our hip flexors or breathe into our expansion.
It is this oneness of body, mind, and spirit that is so necessary for our well-being.
I am not the most flexible person, nor do my poses look anything like the beautiful photos I see online. I modify; I adjust; I use blocks and straps. But that’s all okay. It’s my practice. And I have goals and hopes and desires for my practice, but all in due time. It’s a slow, steady, ebbing and flowing. Some day, when the yoga teacher instructs us to come out of downward dog and place our left foot by our hands, I’ll be able to do that. And one day, when she says to grasp our back leg with both hands and lean forward in flamingo, I’ll be able to do that too. Until then, I’ll step my foot up a little at a time and hold my back leg with one hand. And I will feel confident and accomplished at doing so. For my yoga practice is my own.
I 💜 Yoga. Namaste.