At the beginning of my yoga journey, it was important for me to “advance” in my practice.
I remember I was feeling inspired by those students who were standing on their hands or performing postures that were simply impossible for me. I remember I used to promise myself that one day I’d have done the same.
For years I believed that advancing my personal practice meant becoming “better”: more flexible, stronger, with a better control over my body; and I was excited every time I was able to perform a much desired poses.
While there is nothing "bad" or "wrong" in all of this, it simply has nothing to do with what yoga is. In the tradition of yoga, the asana or the postures that we perform with our body are born with the sole objective of allowing us to sit comfortably in meditation. That's all. Clearly and without minimizing it, the great benefits of this physical practice on our health and well-being are known. The problem, for me, is to believe that performing postures or becoming more flexible is the purpose of the yoga practice.
Some years of practice along with a deep love, respect and curiosity towards what yoga is have taught me that there is no use for me to perform any arm balance if I am not able to calm my mind. That holding Warrior 3 for minutes is not enough if I cannot open my heart to my vulnerability. That jumping from down dog to the front of my mat does not make me more compassionate towards myself and towards others.
For me, advancing in my practice means to recognize that there is nowhere I have to go because I am already here; that there is nothing to improve, just accept. That my practice is a mirror of how I behave in my life. It is understanding that the way I treat myself is how I treat others; that the respect and love I give myself is the respect that I allow myself to receive from others.
Advancing in my yoga practice is about becoming more compassionate, more respectful and more connected to myself and the world around me. It is to recognize that we are all equal and unique at the same time. It is to learn how to calm my mind and respond to life from a space of awareness and self-love.
One of my teachers once told me: "If you want to know if you are advancing in your practice, observe how your relationship with yourself and others is".
Today I’d like to share this reflection with you:
if you are a yoga student, what is your intention when practicing yoga?
If you are a yoga teacher, what is your intention when teaching others?
How can you use your personal practice to live with more harmony, respect & love?
Yours are the answer and yours the power to contribute to a different world.