Another yoga principle I’m fond of, this one reminds us that the destination is not the best part of practice.
Our culture is kind of focused on instant gratification, and if you can’t do it well the first time, don’t do it, and goals, goals, goals.
But your practice should be about feeling good, not getting good, and there is no finish line.
The first few times you practice, it’s normal to struggle. Then, your body and brain figure out the basics, and you find you can make it through the poses with some competence.
A few months later, you might think you’ve got “your” practice down. There are poses to aspire to, but you can balance, you can hold, your parts are in the right place, you are breathing correctly, it’s all working.
Then a year later, your shoulders open up another three inches and your mind is blown. You had no idea they could do that, it’s awesome!
And 3 years later, it happens again.
It took 7 years of hating triangle pose until one ordinary day, everything slid into place, and just like that, I was in love.
It’s usually small, incremental changes, on ordinary days, when you don’t expect it, or force it, like your leg lining up correctly in a balancing pose, or your twist getting deeper, or your breath, or your focus, or the way you feel the day after.
And they come when they come, you can’t make a list for your 5 year plan.
Recently, I’ve been loving the awareness that my heart rate can go up when I’m working really hard, but my breathing is as long, slow and steady as nap time. Because I teach on zoom, I’m visually able to seen that the grace of my transitions from pose to pose has evolved over time. Because I'm teaching live again, I feel the delight of connected engross energy again, and the high of seeing others challenging themselves to improve. The other night I nailed an advanced variation of a pose I've been struggling with for years. I can meditate with a mile and a half between each distraction. My left side needs more attention. My friend Yinet is a wonderful teacher. Yin is not so bad. And it’s so good, always, to be on the mat.
In a dedicated practice, there is always the potential for a pleasant surprise.
That’s why we don’t perfect, we practice. That’s #theyogayouneed
No cults, no gurus.