Difference between Trying and Doing! How does it impact your yoga practice?
How many times have you said to yourself that you will try to do something? Do you try drinking a glass of water? or try
eating your food? Go ahead give it a go! When you try to do it what is really happening? Are you trying? Or are you doing?
When I am trying it nothing really happens! I take the first step and then the next and the next and soon I am actually right into the space of doing something! A step at a time, sometimes it's half a step too but that's OK! So are you trying yoga? or are you doing yoga? What is yoga? When is it harming you rather that doing any good for you?
Yoga is aligning yourself with your body, your breath & your mind. It is also about aligning you with you, you with your
spiritual self. The world around us bombards us with many messages, many mixed messages at that! Our yoga practice has many goals and usually starts with wanting to lose weight, or look really awesome in the social media photos!
Yoga is for flexibility, yoga is for better immunity and health, yoga brings internal transformation, it is good for my
complete well being. These and many more such benefits outweigh any thoughts of yoga doing any harm! Yet there is the belief that yoga is for slim, fit , flexible people only. That real yoga practitioners are really very slim, good looking, young and mostly female is the picture that we see in online media. These mixed messages we receive from around us create the belief that yoga is not for us! Has it happened to you ever?
Honoring our bodies and accepting ourselves and our environments as is, is a part of practicing yoga. Yoga is harmful when we create a sense of ego or pride about what we achieve. While striving for more flexibility, more strength, more this and more that, we create a competitiveness within us. This I believe is the most harmful aspect of yoga in these modern times. Just like everything else in our lives this becomes a point of competition.
Being a yoga teacher myself there have been times in the past when I thought I need to be more slim, more flexible, more calm, more picture perfect, otherwise how could I teach! Accepting myself just as I am was the being that came from the doing in yoga.
Over the years of practice I now realize that trying to be anything other than who you are, is a recipe for disaster. The kind of practice one did when in their 20's must change when they are in their 40's and its OK! It is all about finding that unity within yourself that is yoga.
True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.
– Aadil Palkhivala
Being OK with myself exactly as I am is truly honoring myself. That I am healthy in mind and body, that I am able to add value by sharing my knowledge with others, that my practice is changing, is my contribution to my life. The theory of more, more and more is now becoming the theory of less is more in my own practice as well in my teaching.
The key to going beyond the media messages of who yoga is for and how yoga is supposed to be, is increased attention to how aware we are of the feelings in our body when in a pose. The focus on the inner transformation on physical, mental and spiritual levels far out weigh the harmful belief that yoga is for the young and flexible people.And this all starts with doing yoga in the first place!