Your Practice is Your Own
All my life I have been a very aggressive person. If there is a contest, I always do my best to win. Sometimes a crippling lack of self-worth and insecurity fuels my determination. So in such moments I can go against any odd just to be the best. I know it’s weird but I never mind even if what I do disgusts or bores me to death.
To be honest, trying to be the perfect or the best in everything you do is exhausting.
Read More The first day I did yoga, I wanted to be aggressive and determined as usual. However, yoga changed me totally. In fact, let’s just say I fell in love: my instructor told me that I had to ignore the other students and just focus on my practice. She told me that yoga isn’t about competing, like the other physical workouts I may have encountered.
Then, a thought came it to my mind, this is the only place I did not have to be number one. I sighed with relief because that heavy burden had been taken away.
Bad habits never die and trust me when I tell you that my relief lasted for a minute! A fellow student next to me executed a jump-back to Chaturanga. Her body seemed flawless and before I knew it, competition was back on. I had to be that girl!
I was now obsessing over my alignment, not because I want it to be correct – I needed it to be beautiful. I wanted my poses to look perfect to me. What I didn’t know was that I was missing the whole point of yoga. I forgot so fast that it wasn’t about what I look like but how I feel.
The moment we try to do what other people are doing or to ignore our own truths, we end up messing everything. By the end of the session, my body was so tired and sore. Wanting to be that perfect girl didn’t work at all. My body couldn’t take it at that moment. I couldn’t execute the inversions and for sure I wasn’t the best in my class at anything pose-related. Unless that award also included sleeping during Savasana. That was the only pose I was best at.
Finally, I chose to give up- even though not on yoga. The competition was too much and again I was exhausted. At last. I was determined to let it stay for more than a minute this time. To my surprise I began to learn a lot. I got to know that my asana is the best for me as at that moment; and the best thing I could do is improve on my practice as days go by.
I feel great. I don’t practice yoga because someone has forced me or because I want to be the best. Yoga has taught me that I don’t have to be the best in everything and now my life doesn’t revolve around trying to be perfect. It might have taken a while for me to get there, but I am glad I understand it better.
I may not have the capability to hold the inversions for three breaths, and that’s okay. My poses or body may not look like the ones I see on many yoga magazines, and that is still okay. I may also not have a perfect practice but its surely the best for me. The lesson: Just be you and give everything your best. The life you live belongs to you and it should never look like anyone’s.
As my instructor said, we only find contentment and peace each time we stay on our mats rather than comparing ourselves to others. We can only keep ourselves focused on our drishtis and improve in our practice if we lead our own paths. Read Less