I’ve never been a big fan of group sports. Mainly because I’m too impatient to wait for 2, 5 or even 10 persons to agree on a common date, time and venue. I’m more an “own time own target” person. That’s why I like yoga.
Many would agree that yoga is hardly a social sport (at the risk of not doing yoga justice by calling it a sport). Yoga is introspective, which probably explains why one of our YTT masters said that yoga teachers are amongst the most difficult employees to manage. They are an extremely idiosyncratic bunch.
This wasn’t apparent to me at the beginning. I was conscious of my performance and those of others, and was constantly comparing myself to other students in class. I started getting frustrated and even angry with myself. The more I pushed myself physically based on these thoughts, the more I hit the wall. This was when I realised I was heading in the wrong direction. This was when it dawned on me that yoga is a lifelong journey. And if the mental state is not “yogic”, nor would the physical be.
It was difficult at first. I started with baby steps. When I went for group classes, I would find a spot that was in a corner at the front so that I concentrate on my own practice instead of watching from the corner of my eye what others were doing. I used to avoid poses in which I was weak and only practiced the ones I was strong in during home practice. That changed too. I started facing my fears and worked daily on my weaknesses by going back to the basics.
Now, I find myself enjoying yoga more. The depth that I feel is no longer a function of how well I do a pose, much less how well others do it. Yoga became a journey, not a pursuit. Yoga, for me, became Asteya.