The beginning of a long journey

I have always had very high expectations of myself. I’m a competitive person and I always want to do best. Not do my best. Do best.

When I first started yoga a few months back with an App on my phone, I was competing against myself, I wanted to learn new Asanas every day, do them better, higher, straighter. Then I started going to classes. And I found myself competing against others. If they can do, I can too. Whatever the pose, whatever the feeling in my body, it didn’t matter if I was tired, I pushed more and more every day. No going back, no slowing down. I practised at least once a day (up to three times a day sometimes). I wanted to do all the advanced poses and master them all. Sirsasana (headstand), Bhakasana (crow pose), Svarga-dvijasana (bird of paradise), Pincha (forearm stand), you name it.

But after a few months of daily practice, something happened. I didn’t feel the need to do all the poses anymore, I just wanted to learn more about yoga (as in the philosphy, the history, the meditation & breathing) and really deepen my practice. That’s when I realized everything I was doing was not what yoga really was about. The path I had chosen was a dangerous one. I was pushing my body to its limits without listening to it, without taking care of it. I was on my way to injury. This is when I decided to slow things down and take a yoga class with a private teacher.

When he asked me what I wanted to focus on, I told him I wanted to go back to the basics. And we did one hour of basic poses, going through alignement and how the poses where supposed to feel, why we were doing them. After that class I realized that I had learned so much more in one hour than I had in a few months of doing all sorts of advanced asanas. This is when I decided that I wanted to deepen my practice, open myself to everything yoga had to offer. I loved doing the asanas and I was so impressed and grateful for what my body could accomplish but I felt the need to understand yoga better. So I enrolled for the 200Hr Yoga Teacher Training.

With that decision came great excitement, but also fear of failing, fear of not being able to be the best. On Day 1 of our YTT, this fear just melted away. I realized we were all at different levels, different stages in our lives and it didn’t matter how well we could perform an asana or not, yoga was so much more. I felt many doors opening.

My daily practice has changed so much since starting the YTT. We have learned a lot about yoga and it’s so much more than just performing Asanas. It’s actually a lot of self-study (yoga is a powerful tool if you want to learn more about yourself) and a lot of information to process and reflect on.

I am slowly trying to incorporate some new concepts to my practice and to my life. ”Ahimsa” – non-violence – reminds me that I shouldn’t be forcing my body into a pose at all costs (otherwise injury will come). ”Santosha” – contentment – reminds me to be happy with where I am today. And if that means I can’t do a pose, it’s actually ok. It doesn’t mean I will never be able to do it, it just means that right now it’s not accessible. But it may be tomorrow. And if not, what? Realizing my yoga practice was not all about performing was liberating.

I also started meditating every day during my morning practice – which I thought was impossible before. I thought meditating was about emptying the mind of thoughts, which is impossible! Meditating for me right now is a lot about focusing on my breathing and trying to accept that thoughts are coming (not panicking anymore thinking I just failed at meditating).

I am not competing anymore, not against myself nor against others. I’m a lot more accepting towards myself and others. The notion of being the best doesn’t exist anymore. I guess I’m slowly breaking karmic patterns and I am so grateful for that!

Kali – YTT 200Hr weekday.