I’ve never been overly confident in my own asana practice. That inner critic speaks to us all, and it takes a lot of practice to tame that beast. I don’t beat myself up, I do not focus on my short comings, but I do wish my bends were bendier and my fear of inversions was already overcome.
Lately, I’ve been noticing a decline in my flexibility, to the point of discomfort in a few of the basic poses. I don’t expect perfection, but I am certainly not where I expect myself to be. This is a telltale sign, and a not so gentle reminder of the fact that I let my own practice go. In the midst of all my “busy”, teaching, running the studio, running my life, I stopped going to class myself. And then I got a “frozen” shoulder, and I used that as an excuse to not stay physically active, I was “nursing an injury”.
A friend, and fellow teacher, booked a weekly restorative class at my studio. Wednesday nights, PERFECT, Wednesdays are my only open night of the week, AND I need restorative, and Molly’s classes are so good for your soul. She is so sweet and loving, and her energy is amazing. I went week one and filled myself with gratitude and support. Then missed week two, failure to prioritize. Week three, I’m actually congratulating myself for getting to a second class in the month.
Then she puts us in a variation of an upward plank pose. And I realize, my hands no longer sit flat on the floor behind me, not with my fingers facing forward, not with my fingers facing back. Sitting at a desk all day has taken its toll on my shoulders apparently, and I now feel like the time has come to face the complacent state I’ve let my body fall into. My hips crave stretches, my shoulder is jacked, I want to be able to reach back behind my body, I want to feel good when I move, and that takes work.
My solution is for the next month is to hire another instructor in town for a little one on one love, a little pose tune up, and to just get back to bending on a regular basis. For me, I need the accountability; I need someone counting on me showing up. Classes are easy to skip for competing priorities, and at home videos are not my thing (oh, lordy, I wish they were my thing, this would be so much easier and cheaper). I am excited for a little one on one attention, to learn a little more, to deepen my practice.
I am all about a full yoga lifestyle, all 8 limbs. I believe meditation, pranayama (breath work), and living a life according to the Yamas and Niyamas, these are what I hope to impart on my students. Things they will carry with them long after the class and the day are over. But I also believe that the movement through relevant poses is so important to move our energy through our bodies, through our chakras, and to help stabilize our physical body as part of the full yoga lifestyle. Yoga is more than just on the mat, but the mat must be included as its own limb.
As you read this, I encourage you to consider areas that you need to improve as well. Not because you are not complete, or not good enough just how you are; but because you crave improvement within yourself, to better yourself, to grow and become everything that your heart desires for yourself. What is the next step you need to take?