Do you ever push yourself so much that you end up hurting yourself? Let’s take a simple example from practicing asanas, such as forcing to keep straight knees during uttananasa and end up having low back pain?
Maybe we are too excited with the pose, maybe we feel challenged. For whatever reasons, it is quite common in the journey of practicing asanas, that we are too distracted with getting what we want as opposed to listen to what our body needs. We are so focused on imitating how the teachers and our mat neighbors do the pose, we often ignore the message that our body is trying to tell us. Yes, challenge ourselves is good, pushing ourselves out of comfort zone is good, inspired to improve is good, just remember to not let it crosses the line and becomes unnecessary comparison.
Let your practice reflect your own journey, however that may looks. It’s okay if you need props and others don’t. It’s okay if you want to take modifications. It’s okay if you are not flexible enough. It doesn’t matter, because we are all different. We have different height, weight, body shape, bone structure and flexibility. Hence, it is not possible for all of us to walk on our yoga journey in a perfectly same way.
Practicing asanas is not about how many cool poses you can do, who can do a better handstand, or who has the better posture. It is not a competition. Don’t be so harsh on yourselves, instead try practicing ahimsa (ahiṃsā, a sanskrit word commonly referred to as non-violence). Practicing ahimsa does not mean only non-violence towards others, but also towards ourselves. Violence does not only mean causing physical harm. Words, tones, behaviors and even our thoughts can turn into weapons if used destructively. Hence be kind to others and YOURSELVES.
Embrace yoga journey as one of the ways to get to know yourselves more deeply, to listen to your body and practice Ahimsa, on and off the mat, as it has power to positively affects the way you see yourselves and the world around you.
As today is the 2nd of October, this blog post is dedicated for Mahatma Gandhi, the pioneer of the philosophy of non-violence whose birthday is on 2nd October and it is marked as The International Day of Non-Violence.