True: the hardest part of my job is trying to get people to cease ‘over’ posturing and exhausting themselves in the process but that aside… What is more important? Showing up, staying in the room, locking the knee, grasping your foot, grasping anything, holding the posture, falling out from trying, getting back in when you have fallen, resting when you need to, giving your 100%, coming back? ALL ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT.
Everybody’s measure for personal success is different. Depending on where they set their bar may dictate how long they stick at something. In asana if they decide a measure that their body is not ready to meet and then don’t meet it quickly they may give up. Maybe for fear of judgement of others or they are simply being too hard on themselves. I see people being too hard on themselves practically every class. Our Yoga studio is not a place for being perfect all the time. It is a place where people fall out and get back in. This is the process.
Some peeps are so used to being ‘successful’ that for them not being perfect or falling out is a big fail that they repeatedly lament with me about ‘how bad they are at it’ or ‘they thought they’d be further along by now’. I even have people coming in to enquire for others but say they couldn’t possible try it themselves because they would be ‘rubbish’. Of course I can’t have talk like that in YM reception and so I always put them on the right track. Yoga is for everyone to try. That does not mean they will like what I say and so for them, never having tried a class, I am big bad Yoga teacher, telling them the opposite of what they have already decided, but you can’t choose to walk into reception and not listen to what I have to say 🙂 it is my turf after all.
SAMPLE MEASURES OF PROGRESS/VICTORIES:
STAYING IN THE ROOM: could be staying in the room with resting posture and breath awareness and being in the present moment of rest until the moment arises where you are ready to try again. In my case, for the first three years of practice I ‘nipped to the loo’ when everyone went to Savasana, I was back by time teacher was saying ‘Pavanamuktasana’. Having sacrificed possibly the most important posture, it was a purely psychological wee :). From the first class on TTC I never nipped to the loo again (NO CHOICE, NO PROBLEM!).
LOCKING THE KNEE: it could be the first time for 5 seconds locking of a knee that has been through a terrible trauma or the first second of finally discovering your quads work at your bidding after all 🙂 after 2 months of practice.
HOLDING POSTURE STEADY FULL LENGTH: could be a combination of getting the grip, holding the grip and trying to do something you have never done in 60 years of living.
FALLING OUT FROM TRYING: could be first time decided not to stay in comfort zone, that place where you never fall out.
GETTING BACK IN: that decision you make in the split second to have another go because you don’t know when your next class is gonna be.
RESTING WHEN YOU NEED TO: when you finally realize nobody else is looking at you or judging because they are working far too hard on themselves to care about what is going on on the mat next to them OR you are finally honoring your body’s needs for the first time.
GIVING YOUR 100%: finally accepting that your 100% on this day is maybe 70% what it was last class BUT it is still your best effort today and your best is ALWAYS good enough at YM.
COMING BACK: Winning the battle between lower and upper mind that commenced 30 minutes before time comes for you to leave the house to go to Yoga, lower mind telling you all the reasons not to go; your teatowels need ironing!
COMING BACK AGAIN: I’m up to this challenge in the hot room, this little 90 minute microcosm of life outside the room, better to suffer for 90 minutes than to suffer for 90 years.
REALISING THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO A 10 DAY CHALLENGE TO BE CHALLENGED BY THIS YOGA: but that every time it challenges you and you recognise your choices in the moment and you get better at making the right choice and you persevere, you are the winner.
When a practitioner excitedly tells me after a class, “I got my bottom to the floor in Fixed Firm”, “Did you see I went down on my left side in toe”, “I brought both hands up in Namaskar in Tree”, “Did you see I grasped both feet in Bow”, “My foot didn’t slip out of my fingers for the first time in Standing Leg Head to Knee”. This is SUCCESS.
The more you practice the more you learn. Progress is inevitable. The little victories inspire you to keep coming back. You are Yogi. You don’t do Yoga. You TRY Yoga.
OM OM OM TRY 100%