“Lets begin by just breathing. Observing the natural breath, without judgment and without changing it. Just watching the natural rise and fall of the natural inhale and exhale…While we are in this space, you are invited to take stock of where you are today. Scan the physical body for any tension…scan the mental body for any stress…and scan the emotional body for how you are truly feeling today…Once we begin to get a whole picture where we are starting from, you are invited in this space to approach this place with compassion and trust.”
The above paragraph is how I begin each of the classes I teach. I start by just trying to show my students how to fully understand where they are in the exact moment they first sit on their matts, and how to integrate the three bodies together to get a full picture of where they are. I try to help them not only see that place, but understand that it is okay that they are there. They are feeling that tension in the body, feeling that stress in the mind, and feeling whatever emotion they are beginning their practice with; in essence to truly understand and start from where they are and be OK with that.
Still I find that many people have a hard time accepting themselves in the moments they are in. I constantly watch students, myself included at times, struggle against their natural states and push themselves beyond where they truly are at in the moment. Many times it is because the ego is saying, “but I could do this pose yesterday!” or “but I that was not bothering me last week?” or “I am at yoga I am supposed to be happy right now!”
We are always in flux, always changing. From our emotional state, to our mental state, and even our physical state. Every second of the day our body is throwing off old cells and building new ones, so there are times were we literally are stepping on our matts with completely new bodies from the last time we practice. Further the energies in ourselves are always in flux, in the Yoga Sutras these energies are called gunas. These three gunas are always at odds with one another fighting for control, or the upper hand, in our thoughts and deeds. These energies can change and alter the state of our minds, and the state of our perceptions changing our emotions at the drop of a hat. Thus it seems silly to think that every time we step on our matts we will be the person we were the last time, or that we will have the same practice experience.
Yoga, in essence, is all about accepting and aspiring ourselves. If we want to be greater than we are now, we must first take the step of accepting where we are starting from. Only then can we know the way to go or the right steps to take. If we are constantly tricking ourselves into believing that we are different then we truly are, we will never be able to get to the better place we wish to be.
And there is nothing wrong with where we are right now; we are exactly where we are meant to be at this moment. If we are having a day where a victory is even stepping on to our matts, or sitting on our meditation cushions, then we should celebrate that victory. If life was easy, then what would we have to strive for? What lessons would we learn while we were here?
One of the greatest challenges and best lessons in yoga is learning contentment. True contentment. The sense of satisfaction with what we already have, or where we already are. Once we have learned this contentment, there is no saying what we can accomplish. For if we are happy with everything we already have, then what is the risk of taking that jump into the unknown? At best we strive and gain something more, at worse we fail and we are stronger in knowledge and no worse for wear.
Learning to accept where we start on our yoga matts teaches us the first steps in the lessons of contentment in our greater life. When we take these lessons off the matt and practice them at home, or at work, or in our social circles; there is a sense of steadiness and ease that enriches the experiences of even the most mundane tasks. Yoga is a practice, so there is no actual perfection to attain; thus even when we slip there is no shame in starting again exactly where we are.
Practice in Peace and Love ❤