I saw your Instagram picture/ pose in practice/ whatever, and I’m dying to know! How can you do that?
Ahhh, the question a fledgling yogi is always dying to be asked.
That’s truly the thing about yoga. It will change you if you’ve done it long enough. For me, as a beginner, I was dying to have people ask me how long I’ve been practicing or how I learned how to do a certain pose or whatever, something like that. Not so much now.
Let me give you my round about answer to your question.
First, since I’ve begun my practice, I studied the yamas – and this one in particular shines when I answer these types of questions. Santosha, otherwise known as contentment. Santosha is about accepting life for what really is, and what it is for you right now. This means you have to accept your practice for what it is at this present moment. If you can do that, you are practicing your yoga perfectly.
With that being said, if you allow yourself to practice asanas with contentment, you will see your real growth take place. For me, I pushed myself very hard to get into more difficult, *challenge* poses right away. I was skipping the journey of yoga, the transformation process that occurs when you allow yourself to go on the adventure that is yoga. I pushed my body into these shapes, but I didn’t push my mind to follow it. I was simply doing for others to see.
Once I really read the Yoga Sutra and got to understanding what santosha was all about, I was actually a little embarrassed about how much of my practice was for show. So I started holding back in my practice until I proved to myself that I could be humble and practice with grace. I went back and read books on yoga and learned how the poses are supposed to be done. Flipping through Instagram, I thought about the Insta-famous yogis who post pictures of their asanas for thousands upon thousands of likes and I wonder if they are posting for the likes or for something deeper…Hmm.
How can you do that?
Well, simply put, on a purely physical level, I can do that because I put in a lot of physical hours to where I did the same pose over and over again until I built up the right muscles and could do it. There were a lot of Youtube videos watched, countless articles read, and many a pulled muscle.
But I don’t really think that’s a fair answer. I think a lot of how any one yogi can do something is based off of their philosophy on it. Are you doing it with humility? Are you doing it without comparing it to others? Are you doing it without seeking praise or envy? Think deeply on why you want to do it- is it simply to “look cool?”
If you don’t truly understand why you’re doing something, I don’t think you’re fully doing it. Hopefully you understand.
The light within me honors, respects, and bows to the light within you. Namaste.
Featured Image via PixieBitchGoddess.