For me there is nothing better than being in a room full of people doing their practice, moving and breathing together. I love having classes where the energy is palpable and the air feels electric.
With all the ways to do yoga now – U-Tube, Instagram, online- there’s something you only get from being in a room with others that you can’t get any other way. The connection with people brings us into the parasympathetic state and releases feel good hormones like Oxytocin. There is a feeling of support, it makes people nicer and there is chat afterwards.
Even if no words are exchanged, being in contact with others makes us feel less isolated and being around people brings back the human element to our world if the computer screen has overtaken too much.
Being in the room requires a level of acceptance. Not only of the others but of ourselves. We are all given a different body to work with so no two people’s practices are the same.The goal in yoga is never perfection – although if you look at Instagram you might think so! – yoga is about being free on all levels.
The mind can get very busy in comparison and judgement. Being ambitious, striving for more and to do better is the default for most of us. It also makes us restless, unsatisfied and feel bad about ourselves when we don’t meet our expectations of how it should be.
Being in the room gives an opportunity to see this in ourselves and observe what it does to us. Lack of acceptance creates a huge amount of noise. To see and accept ourselves as we are is about creating peace. Learning to observe what is actually going on grounds us in the present moment where there is clarity.
“In quietness we can more hear our aliveness within the web of life”.
Accepting our selves is a deep act of kindness. It means being in the present with what actually is and not escaping to an imaginary world where all things, including us are perfect and then having to deal with the disappointment when reality doesn’t make it that way.
If you continue to focus on the perfection of the posture, you cannot focus on the breath and the other fundamental aspects of yoga, because they are in the other direction. The breath is the doorway into the body.
The striving for perfection creates such tension inside. Rather than staying present the mind goes off somewhere in the future to a place that doesn’t exist. Its very seductive to think about who or what we could do/be/become but it makes people crazy and insecure.
A majority of us feel we’re not good enough and its rooted in this way of thinking. To unravel it we need to bring ourselves back into the present to what’s really happening. Coming into the present brings us into contact with our life force energy. It reduces the noise.
The more in flow you are with the harmony of your own existence the more magical life becomes. The calm mind opens doorways into well-being.
Accepting the body we have and understanding what we can do with it is the place to begin the mind training required to free ourselves from insecurity and low self esteem. It gives us power.
Watching the thoughts, watching the breath and slowing down enough to be able to notice the different layers of the body. Feeling the sensations opens us up to new experiences when we practice, preventing us from becoming mechanical.
Creating the shape, feeling the body as you get into it, connecting with the breath as you stay there, adjusting as you feel the body open and space being created and finding that sweet spot between effort and letting go is the road map for creating acceptance in your practice.
“The final ingredient in a posture is to accept it” from my man, Norman Blair. The point when you stop trying to fix it and go further and just let it be….. Let it be…. Let it be!!! (Beatles)
The irony is of course, when you stop trying so hard and allow yourself to relax, you are naturally able to do more and go further because the tension preventing you from moving forward has dissolved.
Flexibility is not in the body its in the mind!
What if you’re fine just the way you are? What if your practice is perfect just as it is? Can you imagine!?!
The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion, the tunnel is the illusion.
Enjoy your practice 🙂