Since taking yoga teacher training two years ago, I have found that I expect more from myself – almost as if the knowledge of those amazing 200 hours should really just go ahead and spawn into my muscles and boom bang, open hamstrings.
Well, it doesn’t work that way. #reality
So, I found myself on the mat today in Crescent Pose, a strong and heart-opening movement that looks like a deep lunge. As I adjust and re-adjust, I realize that my body does not want to go very deep today. If maybe I tweak my hip to the right just a bit….no. Or perhaps pull the left hip back and in a bit more….oh that’s not good. Hey breath, where are you? Am I breathing?
I come fully out of the pose, align my body, pause and move with my breath. It is clear, I cannot and will not go any deeper on this day. My front leg is barely in a lunge and my back leg is bent to allow my tailbone to tuck, my hip points aligned, my lower back open, my hip flexor opens across the entire front of my leg, and I continue to breathe. Mindful not to judge or compare myself to the dude next to me in what seems like a Level 4 pose, I stay right here, right where I need to be.
What I realize in this moment is that when I try to look good on my mat, push deeper in a pose than my body actually can, prove myself to no one that is paying attention – it doesn’t feel good. At all. And I believe yoga should feel good, really good.
However, I find that when I breathe into the movement, into the pose that is less advanced in comparison to my Gumby neighbor in his Level 4 (reminder: comparison kills), I actually begin to open even more – my body thanks me with more access to big, beautiful breath, more (heart)space and the ability to surrender to where my beautiful body is in this moment, right here, right now.
What if I just live my life that way – present and patient, feeling really good? Not pushing to prove myself, not trying to catch up with him or her, and not going deeper here or there. Really and truly allowing myself to breathe in each moment, open my heart more and truly surrender to where my beautiful life is in this moment, right here, right now.
Lesson: Stop looking good and start feeling good. Get in your body.