Feel into the moment, the here and the now.
I don’t know how many times I feel like I need to say ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ – it just never gets old.
And in yoga, especially when we look at our physical practice of the asana (postures), this is something we need to keep reminding ourselves.
Contentment, or Santosha as it is known in yoga, is not an easy thing to find both on and off the mat. It takes work, and some days more work than others!
Ask yourself, do you like yoga? If you’re returning to a regular class the answer is probably yes. Do you ever feel like you can’t do it? Maybe the answer to this is yes, I know it has been for me – many times over. But why is that? Because perhaps you are comparing yourself to what others can do? You’re being too hard on your own abilities? You’re not happy or content with where you are now in your practice?
I ask these questions because I have been there. I’ve been practicing yoga for two years and three months. I’ve been teaching yoga for three of those months.
Two years and three months ago I couldn’t get my heels down in downward dog. Two years and three months later I still can’t – and you know what? I may never be able to – for some people the bones in the feet just don’t allow it.
We are all different, our bodies are all shaped differently, our stamina, our strength, our mental ability. And more than that – when we come to our practice in the morning, who knows what that morning has been like for the person next to you? They may have just won the lottery and are on cloud nine and as a result are flying through their practice! They may have just had a full bodied sports massage and are feeling loose and flexy, or they might have had the worst morning ever, full of stress and tension and just can’t get anything moving that day.
There are so many things to consider in the way we think and feel before we even step on our mats.
Many, many, many times I have thought to myself ‘I’m not flexible enough, my hamstrings are too tight, I’ll never be able to do that’ – and it’s only when I stopped thinking that and started considering all the other variables that I realised none of that stuff matters.
What matters is contentment – in where you are and where you might be able to take your practice from there.
Yoga is all about balance, in that balance we can feel content, content in knowing that little by little our practice will grow.
You might think that you will never be able to do headstand – two years and three months ago that’s what I thought. Two years and three months later I am standing on my head.
Two years and three months ago I never would have believed in that first class I took, that I would one day be teaching my own. Two years and three months later, here I am.
Focus on where you are now. Find happiness in your own achievements. Focus on where you want your practice to take you. Surrender to the universe and trust that it will guide you.