Last Sunday I was leading a class through Urdhva Danurasana (upward facing bow) & we were having so much fun! There were folks in class 'amping' the asana up by using the wall to flip up into handstand, folks were playing with bocks under feet and hands to get more juice in their hips or heart, some folks were working beautiful Setu Bandha (bridge pose), some were pushed their edges with straps around arms to begin to get more arm extension. It was awesome! Everyone in the room was meeting their potential in that moment for that asana..... and then smack in the middle of the Backbend Kumbaya something terrible happened .... & then something lovely happened...
All of a sudden amidst all of this amazing work students started climbing out of their own practice and into other students practices by looking around the room. I began to see and hear signs of self-frustration and disappointment. I couldn't believe it; even though I,like most of us, have at times been that practitioner looking around the room and feeling 'less than'. But the work I was witnessing that day was so moving that, as a teacher it was hard to understand. Then the ' Lovely' part happened - I realized the class had opened a door for me to talk about the biggest lesson yoga has to offer... the gift of never arriving.
At Blue Banyan we teach that the cultivation of Prana is the premium in the practice, that creating and moving Prana through the body is the ultimate yoga experience. The biggest gift our practice can give us is that of Life Force Energy (or Prana). If we, as practitioners, were able to 'conquer yoga', if we could reach a place where every asana was attainable, we would most likely not come to mat very often, our yoga practice would become 'been there, done that". If that happened than we would not be taking advantage of the opportunity to cultivate Prana that the practice affords us & demands of us.
It is a GIFT not to be able to 'do' everything we may want to do in our yoga practice, whether it's an asana or a breath practice that we are working towards; it's the 'working towards' that challenges us & inspires us to keep coming back to the mat. And it is on the mat where we cultivate Life Force Energy.
So, perhaps, next time the judge-y / analytical mind or the ego pops up in practice you can tell It with absolute confidence and conviction that you will never arrive, nor do you ever want to. Yoga Magic lies in the never ending journey of our practice and the fuel (Prana) it demands to keep us going in our practice. We say 'Practice' for a reason....
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,