How to Practice (Not Perform) Yoga
February 6th, 2017
When I first began practising yoga, it was merely to move my body but I very quickly discovered it also moved my mind. It shifted my thoughts into a realm of calm, quiet and non-judgemental contemplation. Hugely powerful stuff for me. Yoga continues to change my life – little by little, every time I take to the mat, I’m transformed to a place where nothing else matters except for the steadiness of my breath and the strength of my body.
Yoga pushes me. Not in a way that makes me feel inferior if I can’t ‘nail’ a particular pose during a particular practice. It pushes me to support myself, to feel how amazing my body is regardless of its shape or size. I appreciate myself more because of yoga. I breathe better because of yoga. I truly believe I chose not to give up when my health took a turn for the worst a few years ago. Without yoga, I may have submitted to the selfish, destructive thoughts in my mind that told me to stop caring about my body.
Yoga is a practice. It takes time and patience. It takes you + your mat, flowing, breathing and feeling each pose. Until you understand and alter each pose to feel comfortable for you, you are not practising yoga – your performing someone else’s yoga. As a qualified yoga instructor, I often hear people say their ‘downward dog isn’t great’, their ‘handstand isn’t steady enough’ or how they wish they could perform some type of back bending, spine twisting, almost-always-ridiculously-dangerous-looking pose displayed on someone’s instagram account.
My advice? Work with what you’ve got. Breathe with your lungs. Flow with your body. Start on your mat. Sit and be still. When you’re ready, flow and feel. Only then you will begin to really understand yoga. Only then, you will begin to really practice yoga.
I wish you well on your yogic journey. Namaste.