Things I Never Expected from Yoga – No. 1…

That It Would Show Me I Have ‘Issues’…

I’ve realised that I have a bit of an issue with accepting my limitations.  While I am gradually learning and experiencing the benefits of the internal practice, at times I have a real struggle with the external, focusing on the physical aspects – namely what I ‘cannot’ do – and, wrongly, feeling a sense of frustration at my body.  I forget to be grateful for the body that I have.

I try to do things the right way and if I see how a posture is supposed to look, then that’s how I want to be able to do it. The trouble with this (for my ego, at least) is that my body won’t always let me get there.  I expect to be at ‘Level 5’, not taking into account that I need to move through ‘Levels 1-4’ first.

I’ve been really surprised to see where my physical practice has developed within just a few months of regular classes at my current yoga home.  For instance, being in Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) has gone from feeling like mild punishment to an unexpectedly blissful place.  But my progress has stalled in certain areas, like the balancing sequence, for instance:

“If it’s available to you, you can take the full expression and kick out.”

It’s not available to me though. In my years of Bikram practice I was never able to kick out then either (or do toe stand, or… I could go on).  I find myself wondering if I ever will.  I know it shouldn’t frustrate me, but sometimes it does.  Surely, I should be able to do it by now, shouldn’t I…?

The penny recently dropped that this is part of a wider issue I have with perfectionism (as well as a bit of impatience).  And in the past I’ve learnt the hard way that perfectionism isn’t necessarily a good thing.   So, I’m not going to bring perfectionism into my yoga.  As one of my teachers often reminds us, it is called ‘yoga practice, not yoga perfect’.  Of course from time to time my ego still rears its head, disappointed that I am still not kicking out, but instead I just focus on doing the best I can.  And I try to do this with every posture that isn’t yet available to me.  I feel that as long as I know I am doing the best I can, in that moment, then my best is always good enough.

Here’s to imperfection.

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