A friend of mine recently asked me about my early days of yoga. He asked what was my hardest challenge and what poses I started with. He went on, explaining that he has a hard time with many of the poses, which leads to a lack of ability when it comes to maintaining focus.
I pointed out that I had a teacher who gave me direction and helped me to find focus (albeit periodically). If my memory serves me, I was in awe of her. Okay, maybe I still am. But back then, I hung on her every word. Now I realize that she is human just like me.
The funny thing is, there is more to learn from someone who also struggles because life ain’t always easy. Sometimes, it’s down right hard. And true yogis (or yoginis) don’t just pack up their yoga when they roll up their mats. They know that the greatest challenge in practicing yoga is living their yoga.
On the mat, we learn that sticking with the poses that we do not enjoy (whatever the reason) are the ones we need to keep doing. It is much the same in everyday life. For, no matter where you are, there is much to be learned from sticking with something long enough to get past the uncomfortable. The rewards, I am told, are often great.
This evening, I encountered much discomfort during class. There were moments, in fact, when it was all I could do not to roll up my mat and walk out. But I stuck it out. I did not do every pose which we were invited to do. Nor did I hang my head in shame that I had to come out of poses that I know have been able to do with ease in the past. Instead, I thought about something I recently read in teacher training manual. In the manual, Jenn, the same teacher whom I’d been so in awe of in my early days writes that “one’s greatest teacher lies within” and that every situation, emotion, thought, and sensation is our teacher.
I stayed in Child’s Pose a bit longer and told my body that it was okay that I couldn’t do much of tonight’s practice. I affirmed that I would just enjoy the poses that it could do tonight. I resumed just as the invitation to go into Crow Pose and, from there, into a head stand came. I proceeded with caution and enjoyed the ease that came…when it came.
It was a lot like it was when I first started practicing yoga. I am still just a beginner and it’s a great place to be.