Compassion and Yama

When I first found out that I was the youngest in this YTT batch, I felt an overwhelming sense of pressure to nail every single posture immeditely. Given how my body/muscles was considered “young” or “agile” and growing up as a ballet dancer (who is expected to have a standard of flexibility), I caught myself over-exerting a couple times. What left me feeling more indifferent to the condition of my physical body was the fact that there were going to be advance poses; the techniques of arm balances and inversions which I have been struggling to learn on my own for years was something I had yearn for greatly!

I am glad that the eight limbs of yoga were taught early, before I could have potentially sustain any injuries and would have to sit out of my physical sessions.

The first principle – Yama. This spoke to me immediately with its guiding principles of ahimsa, asteya, satya, aparigraha, brahmacharya. The two that best resonated with me was ahimsa and aparigraha.

Ahimsa – the practice of non-violence to yourself and others reminded me the need to listen to my physical body and mind. There have been many occasions when I would hastily enter poses without warming up, nor understanding what my mental state of mind was for the day. Looking at my classmates who were more advanced made me felt like I was missing out (be it my physical strength/flexibility or the lack of experience to be able to teach such advance poses to my future students). However, the passage on Ahimsa has served as a constant reminder for me not to overexert for the sake of performance. Yoga is a process for a reason. Additionally, I can see that ahimsa is something which I would like to adopt in my daily approach to life.

This leads to Apargraha– the non-possession of anything. By pushing myself into mastering the posture, I am guilty of being possessive in my practice. There is a fine line between striving for improvement and wanting perfection.

For someone who inflicts a lot of pressure on myself to achieve something, I am glad this month has taught me so much to show compassion towards myself.