“You should not be practicing to have a ‘good’ practice, but instead to keep steadiness within yourself. Practice happily regardless of whether it is ‘good’ or not. Sometimes some postures will not be possible, but when you accept the good and the bad and everything becomes equal for you, that is yoga.” – Sharath Jois, 2017
So I’ve had to really embrace these sage words over the last month. I’m injured in two places and practice has been tough. As a yoga teacher I felt an immense pressure to be able to ‘perform’ in front of a class, and certainly don’t want them to think that (Ashtanga) yoga is dangerous and will lead to injury. It doesn’t just my own stupidity and pushing myself too far that did that!
I’ve also had the busiest week of my life for a few years – I moved house and started a new job (because in the UK it’s tough to survive just as a yoga teacher) and worked 7 days straight with barely any sleep.
I didn’t practice for 4 days, then had 1 short practice then nothing again for 2 days. And I felt terrible. Not only did my body really miss the physical side but my head was buzzing and not feeling very equanimous. But why on earth did I feel so bad? Why am I my own worst competitor?
Let’s re-read Sharath’s quote – ‘Sometimes some postures will not be possible, but when you accept the good and the bad and everything becomes equal for you, that is yoga’……so this has to become my mantra for now. Accepting the good AND the bad. Accepting where you are right now, and being content with it.
– It always leads back to this!
Whilst on the mat yesterday, doing my first practice after a few days I suddenly had yet another ‘epiphany’ of just how what happens on the mat is a reflection of life.
I felt bad, guilty, and disappointed in myself for being injured when I felt I was really beginning to see progress in my asana. But I have to accept that I need some time to step back, slow down and quash the ego once again.
This is exactly what is happening in my life right now, I’ve come back, not stepped back necessarily, but I’ve had to start over, new job, house, car etc. This is not a negative, in fact I feel that just like when I left a high paying sales job to teach dance for a pittance – I am taking a few back steps so that I can LEAP forward.
And that is why I have an arrow tattooed on my arm:
– An arrow can only be shot forward once it has been pulled backwards.
Oh, yoga, you’ve done it again. I bloody love you.