Achievement and Yoga

Achievement and Yoga

Achievement and Yoga

Yesterday, one of our students sent us a video with a person doing some amazing yoga that looked a lot like gymnastics.  Brian and I got into a discussion as to whether this was performance art or healing art.  Brian’s response was priceless, “I would be more impressed if there hadn’t been music playing and you could actually hear the guy breathing.”  This reminded me of an old video I saw of Krishnamacharya from 1938.  What impressed me was not just his physical poses, but that you could see his ribcage expanding so much on the inhale and his navel drawing up on the exhale.  It is a silent video, but you can see how powerful his breath is throughout.

Yoga is not about achieving an asana (pose)… it is about finding the light within you so you can share this with your family, your community, thus impacting the world.  Many times we get caught up in the glamour of a beautiful pose, something that seems complex and has graced the cover of Yoga Journal over and over.  We forget the magic of these poses lies within.

How do you know if you are getting caught up in yoga as a performing art versus yoga as a healing art?  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • When in class, do I look around and compare myself to others?
  • When in class, do I always push myself to do the hardest variation or do I listen to my intuition and my body?
  • If I am injured, do I take the time to rest or “push through”?
  • What is my intention as I take each pose in class?
  • Am I looking for praise or reward when I do something right?
Yoga poses are just that… 1/8 of the practice.  They are beautiful and range from simple to complex.  Sometimes what at first seems simple has limitless places to work (triangle).  Sometimes a pose that seems difficult has only one place to go (crow).  What really matters is the heart of your practice.  I am not saying we shouldn’t try more difficult asanas, but simply think about why you are doing them.
After practicing yoga can you acknowledge and nurture your strengths with humility?  Can you admit your weaknesses and start developing from there?  Next time you feel the need to advance your practice, try breathing deeper and hold the “simple” poses longer.  Try it and see what happens.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Elizabeth Delaney