A question I often hear in yoga class is “When will I get good at this?” We are referring to the physical postures here. Here is my response:
Getting ‘good’ at yoga is something to NOT strive for. Being present is. The most impressive yogi or yogini is one who is fully aware of their body and being fully present within it.
Flexibility will come with time. We need to remember that yoga is about balance and has nothing to do with being flexible. The flexibility is simply a by-product of the practice. As they say in the Sutras “Practice with steadi-ness and with ease.”
Release the need to struggle with your practice. Release the struggle with your body. That truly is key.
Those who are less flexible are made to be more present. A profound statement, isn’t it? Some would very likely to disagree, however here is the reasoning behind it….
Those who are very flexible are less likely to listen to the body. Why? They can always go deeper into the postures. This isn’t always necessarily a good thing as injury can result.
Those who are inflexible have no choice but to listen. Their bodies tell them as they spill forward into janu sirasana (seated forward bend) there is a limit to what they can do. Hamstrings probably scream-ing, “NOOOOO!” In this way they are forced to be more present. They have no choice but to listen to what their body has to say.
Even looking at Savasana (corpse pose) can show us many of the issues we face on a daily basis. How often have you came to savasana and not been able to relax? It hap-pens. The conscious relaxation process takes time to learn. And you will have good days and bad days. It is the ebb and flow of the practice. This is key to keep in mind during your personal or public yoga classes…. It is a practice.
So to sum things up when will you get good at it? When the time is right. When you are able to fully ‘be’ on the mat with yourself and not get drawn into distraction.
Public classes are places where distraction can be everywhere; traffic noises from the street, people coughing (or emitting other bodily noises… yes this happens in every yoga class); even the music can be distracting.
Remember you are a spiritual being having a physical experience and cut yourself some slack.
Be fully with your body and connect with the breath.
Remember as Rodney Yee says, “If we are not focusing on the breath and simply moving we may as well be doing gymnastics.”
To sum up….
Breathe, be and enjoy the gift of your presence.