Have you ever been in class and felt like you just can’t keep up? Every time you get settled into the posture, the teacher moves on to the next one. Maybe you keep your focus and continue with your practice. Or maybe you get frustrated. Your mind starts to wander. Suddenly you aren’t on your mat anymore but instead, as Beryl sometimes says, you’re on the “bus to Hawai’i”.
“What am I supposed to be doing?” “Why don’t I look like the person next to me?” “I did this easily yesterday”
Uh-oh. As the mind wanders and you get distracted, maybe you find it even more difficult to keep up.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret; you’re not alone.
This happens to me too! The thing is – needing extra time to transition from one posture to the next doesn’t mean you’re not doing yoga. In fact, these transitions ARE yoga.
The yoga sutras tell us that yoga is EFFORT towards steadiness of mind. That means that, first of all, if you’re breathing, you’re doing it right! Secondly, that means that working towards keeping your mind and body steady as you transition from one posture to the next is an extremely important part of the practice.
Some of us are here because we think we look really good in leggings (kidding); but most of us are here for something else.
Maybe you’re looking to build strength and flexibility. Perhaps you want to relax and de-stress. Maybe you are working with an injury or other limitation. But the thing about yoga is, no matter why you are here, the important part is NOT getting into the posture and looking good there. This isn’t a spectator sport. The important part is effort towards steadiness of mind.
So the next time you feel like you’re falling behind or can’t keep up with the pace of class I invite you to breathe. See if you can keep yourself focused on the breath and the transition rather than on the destination. Because the transitions are a very important part of the practice.
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