Yoga practice not perfection

Raj SharmaNews and BlogLeave a Comment

One of the cool and fun things about yoga is exploring. Yoga provides a vehicle for constant learning and creates possibilities for trying something new everyday……even if that thing is something you already know, but taking a new approach. Growth is a vital component of human happiness…even if the process can be difficult or a pain in the bum. We’re happy when we’re learning/teaching something, helping someone or making something better – either with ourselves or another.
Look in your life where your growing: career, spiritually, financially, relationships, creatively, yoga practice, health, eating better. Whatever it is, it’s ALIVE!! If an area of our life doesn’t have an aspect of growth within it, it can often feel very stagnant.
Learning something new can bring up difficult feelings – feeling dumb, being embarrassed, awkwardness, feeling incompetent… and it can trigger all sorts of self judgment and negative self talk.
I was reading a terrific blog the other day where the author was talking about how negative words outweigh positive words in the human vocab by 2:1. We have so many more ways to speak and think about things negatively…which by extension means that negativity and resistance are more of a default than positivity.
But as she points out, you can rewire your brain and it will make you happier as a result. Yoga is a great tool for helping you do that.
One example she uses is instead of saying to yourself “I can’t do it” you say “I get to do it”. This opens possibilities and gives the space and openness to experiment and play around. That’s why in yoga the emphasis is always on practice not perfection.
One of the most common things people to say to me when they come to their first class is “I’m not flexible at all”. I say GOOD! You’ve come to the right place, just simply step on to your mat and start practicing so you can become more flexible. Physically as well as mentally its going to be uncomfortable in the beginning and at times you will feel silly and inevitably you will compare yourself to other people but you will get better. The moment when you feel things shift there is a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness that you persevered to be able to do something you couldn’t.
Yoga provides a lot of repetition which builds a foundation. Repeating the same movements helps to build the baseline strength and gradual opening of the body so you arrive at a basic point of performing the posture. It gets you into your body so that after awhile you don’t have to think about it, you use your sense of feeling instead. This starts to make yoga more experiential then intellectual. A shift from head to heart.
But don’t hang out here. Once you have the base you can start to build layers onto your foundation and extend yourself further. This is where the journey of exploration comes alive!!
In yoga there is no one to compete against or perform for. ..just you, your body and seeing what you can do, where ever you happen to be on that day. Its different every time.
Opening yourself up to exploring new ground, challenging yourself a little further or adding another layer to your lessons requires some courage and the willingness to fail (or fall). But it comes with the valuable lessons of learning patience, humility and self acceptance. Gradually turning NO to MAYBE to YES!!
It gives us the opportunity to see where our egos can get us stuck and in that seeing a choice opens up to suspend our ego for a moment, maybe laugh at ourselves and do something differently.
It teaches us also not to hold on so tight to the things we think we know. To let go a little bit….breathe, smile…and try again!

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