Thanks to the much blogged about NY Times article by WJ Broad on the risks and rewards of yoga, we’ve all had to do a bit of introspection when it comes to our teaching and personal yoga practices. I know that as a beginning yoga student in 2001, I was extremely concerned about “how good I was doing.” Having originally discovered yoga as a way to improve my tennis game, I was in a competitive mindset from the get go.
I would constantly crank my neck to get a peak at the students beside me without regard to how long they’d been practicing, and I’d force myself much deeper into poses than my body was ready for. I know this now having injured myself in the past not listening to teachers and not listening to my body. It wasn’t yoga’s fault. It was mine. I don’t know why I thought I didn’t have to pay attention as acutely as I did during tennis coaching, but alas and a lack. When you begin training for a marathon, you develop a slow and achievable schedule to build up endurance and strength. Yoga is no different. But more importantly, yoga isn’t about “achieving” anything. In our uber competitive society, we don’t know how to just sit still; to slow down and let the practice unfold for us.
I’m sure my students get sick of my incessant reminders about going slow, easing off of a pose and the ever present reminder that I’ve liberated from a number of mentors, “Remember the 11th commandment, thou shalt not covet thy neighbors pose.” Continue reading