There is a reason that a session of yoga is often referred to as a ‘practice’. A practice of the postures, a practice of our breath work (Pranayama) & a practice of our focus on the mat, which we hope to maintain in life off of the mat.
In the photo alongside this blog post, I had attempted bird of paradise pose, before losing my footing & tumbling to the ground, having a right old giggle in the process. The photographer with me (my beautiful Aunty Liane, at Liane Ryan Photography) captured that moment wonderfully, and it was the photo that inspired this blog post. Because that is what my practice consists of a good chunk of the time. Falling out of things, not quite getting there, all of the good stuff that leads to progress.
There was a time when I would not have been giggling falling out of the pose. I would have been embarrassed and got frustrated, angry, possibly even tearful at my inability to complete what I ‘should’ be able to do.
When I graduated as a yoga teacher, I had to give myself a good talking to as I began to put such high expectations on myself as to what I ‘should’ be able to do with my body to be a good teacher. I had to remind myself that every time I get on the mat, teaching or not, that it is a PRACTICE. That my body will be able to do different things at different points in time and being able to be at peace with that is the REAL yoga. That some days I’ll be bending myself all over the show and some days I will use all of the props available to me to find more space in my body. And with patience and diligence, each posture will get better and thoughts will come with more love and clarity. Even better, if you can laugh at yourself with love in the process the journey becomes the goal, not the destination.
We are all practicing at life. We all need a reminder of that at times. That some days just setting foot on the mat, out of the door, is an achievement, and everything else is just an added bonus. Cultivating this acceptance of our practice and compassion for ourselves as it stands today will not only give birth to a safe practice with less risk of injury, but will also allow us to begin to translate this peace into our everyday lives. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can choose how we react, which will undoubtedly affect the outcome.
However you choose to practice your yoga, whether on the mat or in the actions you take in your life, start by giving yourself compassion. It’ll soon radiate out in the most beautiful way.
With Love, Light & Best Wishes,