I read this quote the other day and it really spoke to me. It is so true. They only way to achieve the skills we desire is through practice and that we must do on our own. Practice has been on my mind a great deal since starting the yoga teacher training last month. I have been observing my asana practice closely the last couple of weeks and have been for lack of better words, somewhat disappointed and frustrated with my body. Lately many of the poses feel extremely challenging and I have been unhappy with how tight and stiff my body feels most days.
Going through all of this has made me question, do I even have what it takes to be a decent yoga teacher? How can I possibly teach someone to do a pose that after several years of practice I can’t even do perfectly? With all of the celebrity type yoga teachers in LA with their fit, bendy bodies I start to feel bad about where I am in my body and have thoughts of stopping all together. I have been having trouble accepting that I cannot get my body to do certain things all the while forgetting that the deal here is practice.
Practice by definition is repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill of proficiency. Thank you Dictionary dot com. Consistant practice over time will gradually and greatly improve my abilities. It has been very hard to remember that. My mind has been so fixated on how my body aches or how much my poses suck that I have completely lost sight of the larger picture. It is impossible to look at practice during one day, a series of days, or even weeks. In order to get a realistic assessment I have to look at the scope of my practice over a period of at least six months. When I look back at where I was in January and where I am today it’s actually pretty awesome. I can see how far I have come physically as well as how deep (spiritually) my practice has become.
Recently I have had two people, a teacher and a fellow student who have known me and observed my practice since I got to LA share with me how much I have grown. Taking in their encouragement and support has given me the wake up call I needed. I have gratefully been pulled back to reality and able to gain perspective that was unattainable when I was stuck feeling down about myself the last couple of weeks.
Having people in my life that know my practice is huge for me. For years I floated around from studio to studio never really committing to a community or teacher. Since I have been in LA I have made a commitment to practice as often as possible at my home studio and check out other places/teachers from time to time. Having that home base has allowed me to get real and share myself with others. I have chosen to no longer be anonymous in the yoga community and it has proven to be one of the most gratifying decisions I made this year. I would not have made it this long in LA with out the students and teachers I have had the pleasure of getting to know.
This morning I got up and practiced asana from a different place than I had been. I wasn’t trying to “get” a pose, I wasn’t being harsh on myself for feeling tight, I just opened my heart and moved in a way that felt good to me. It wasn’t the most intense session but it brought me back to one of the main reasons I practice, to connect with myself and feel joy. Having a practice means things are always changing, and just as there are rough weeks and months there are lighter ones too. Regardless of what they are the practice remains and I am thankful I am willing to show up and continue regardless of how I feel on a given day.