HOW YOGA TESTED MY ACCEPTANCE
Every morning my alarm sings to me at 5:20.
I dress in the dark and grab my bag before driving 10 minutes to yoga where I practise Ashtanga Vinyasa, Mysore style. This happens at a minimum four times a week, sometimes five.
If you read a few of my past posts you’ll see that I love the practise of yoga. Unconditionally. But I have most definitely had my fair share of bruises (literally), falling on my face (again, literally) and humiliating moments. So sometimes I find myself wondering why I put myself through this…and I guess, it’s the moments of clarity, the epiphanies that keep me coming back for me.
One such epiphany has been the very recent realisation that – through the guidance, support and resistance of my teacher – I learnt a hard lesson about acceptance. And I didn’t know I needed to.
You see, it was way back in September that I received new poses from my teacher. And, let’s say this pose has haunted me to the point where sometimes I would dream about it. I couldn’t nail it, in fact, sometimes I still can’t. At first, it led me down a very frustrated path.
Over time, because I had to, I started watching myself during practise. Watching my mind in motion as I got closer to the end, closer to Garbha Pindasana, closer to the pose that I just couldn’t get.
What I saw, I didn’t like. So I made a resolve to let it go. To accept that it is what it is and to start focusing on each moment within the practise, as I was in it, and not the next… before it had even arrived. I started to remind myself that the pose is just a shape, it’s just a challenge in the form of a pose, and when I’m ready it’ll happen. I focused on the breath, and used that to anchor me back whenever Mr Pindasana would taunt me!
I worked hard. I still work hard. And eventually I stopped caring about the pose. I didn’t give up. I just started to accept what it was, to me at least.
I noticed my teacher watching me in this pose. Or maybe I thought she was. But either way, I felt her attention towards me, in my practise, my attitude towards it in fact.
And then there was a shift. One day I felt light, strong, floaty. I no longer needed to convince myself I had to accept, but I finally did accept. I accepted that I might stay on this pose forever and that it didn’t matter if I never perfected it. I kind of liked that.
It was on that particular day when my teacher gave me three new poses. I think she saw what I felt. Or maybe she was just waiting for me to realise what really matters in the practise… and that, most certainly, is not the asana.
And now my practise is fine. These new poses are carefree, By no means am I flawlessly performing these poses, but they feel good. The rest of the practise has continued to evolve and I feel energised by it.
It’s funny how we choose to respond, mentally and emotionally, when we are faced with a challenge, or resistance. I’m grateful that my yoga practise brought my lack of acceptance, mostly towards myself, to the surface for me to face and address.
Have you experienced a moment of realization? Has something, perhaps your own yoga practise brought your ego to light?
Signing off with an exhale.
Pause. Listen. Live
Just as an FYI, the new poses I received in my Ashtanga Vinyasa practise are: