Sunday, January 9, 2011

Do Your Own Pose

I had pose envy in yoga class last week. A beautiful yogini on the mat next to me held handstand for a couple of minutes, and I was in awe. My heels were touching the wall, as I tried to come away and balance for a few seconds at a time, while she was just holding there, still and strong. Wow. Anyone who has attended a yoga class has experienced this feeling, I'm sure. There are people who seem to be able to do every pose, or look like the cover of Yoga Journal. Now, I know that yoga isn't about the perfect pose, but I sometimes get into my head and start to wonder if I'll ever look that steady, that strong.

The ego doesn't have a place in yoga. Yet, as humans, our egos are often the strongest part of us. We are used to competition, constant striving to be better, or even perfect. In yoga, we start where we are. We recognize every pose can be modified to fit every individual, and that no one is going to resemble anyone else, on or off the mat. Sometimes I need to remind myself to turn my attention back to my own practice. The best classes are when I am so into the flow, I don't notice anyone or anything else. Later I can't recall what order we did the poses, or what songs were played. That is when I lose my ego and it's all about the breath and the flow. Peace in my mind and in my heart.

So I reminded myself last week to do my own pose. My friend on the mat next to me has a different practice and a different starting place than I do. I don't need to emulate her or wish to be like her. I can applaud her beauty and grace and recognize that every being in the room has something different to offer. I try to keep my ego out of the yoga studio. I'm certain it will be there waiting for me when I leave, but the more often I can set it aside for any length of time, the closer I get to true freedom.

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