15 January 2014

Yoga and Me

When you do yoga class, there is always that one student who seems to be able to follow instructions seamlessly and wrap themselves around in whichever way, all with the calmest expression on their face? That's not me. I grunt. I moan. I can't ever reach my forehead to the ground. In sitting posture, my knees never touch the ground. I can't balance for nuts. I actually find it funny watching myself in the mirror. The only thing I can do is smile on demand!

But I still like doing yoga. Because when I move away from thinking of it in terms of flexibility and really observe myself in a pose, I learn more about the state of my mind. The days I am cranky and stubborn, I am unable to stretch; the days I am happy and in sync with the practice, the floor magically appears within reach. Yoga has taught me self-observation.

So what really annoyed me the other day was when the teacher suggested we practice to enter into a competition. I loathe this concept. For those who enjoy competitive yoga, go for it. I believe these competitions rate you for flexibility and strength; nothing can rate you for your commitment to self-observation and mindfulness. And isn't each of our spiritual journeys different? Isn't yoga, as a practice of poses, just one way of being aware of that journey?

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