Know the feeling when somebody's been telling you something for the longest time and suddenly you hear it? It happened to me in class on the fourth day of my 30 day yoga challenge.
All this time, I have concentrated on trying to perfect each individual posture in the 90 minute sequence. So typical of me – focusing on the “doing”. It gets worse. Most of the time, I'm also evaluating my progress, expecting to stretch a bit further, hold the pose a bit longer. I have been programmed to aim for optimal performance and only be satisfied, if the expectation is reached or exceeded.
Today I actually heard the instructor say that “As much of the yoga practice takes place in between the poses, in stillness and breath”. It hit me hard! Between the asanas, I need to just “be”.
Well, to be honest, isn't that much harder than anything else – to be present and still? In some discomfort of the heated room, I'd rather wipe some sweat off my face, fidget my feet and adjust my towel on my mat. It also makes sense to me now that they discourage you from drinking water in class. It's just an additional distraction to keep your mind occupied. Get into the habit of drinking water before a certain posture and you'll soon be panicking if you don't have any.
When I show up for my fifth class tomorrow morning, I no longer need to feel frustrated, if I am still unable to master the Standing Head to Knee pose. I can simply breathe, stay calm and centered in the moment. Yoga is a state of mind and it translates well into all aspects of my life.