When practicing yoga I believe that when you’re on your mat…you’re on you mat. You should create a bubble around yourself and focus on your eight limbs of yoga.
Yoga has gown nearly 87% in the US in the past 5 years (Thesis, 2013). People are realizing yoga helps physiologically, physically and biochemically and they are using it to better their health and to maintain good health. Because of the growth, yoga has blossomed. I wouldn’t be surprised if your town had a yoga studio or two. Because yoga has grown so fast, it hasn’t gotten the opportunity to grow spiritually and mentally to practitioners. Yoga is experiencing growing pains, and I feel instructors are feeling it the most.
Humans are naturally competitive, it is in our nature to compare ourselves to others. We are constantly worrying about how we look and who we can out perform, it is just in out culture. People seek yoga to relieve stress from work, to increase flexibility and increase longevity. I often see that competitive culture being carried with students from work onto the mat. This can scare people away from yoga. If a doctor recommends yoga to their diabetic patient (who exercises very little), steps into a studio and sees Bendy Betty, this could turn this student away. So how do we protect the culture of yoga and rid the competitive, judgmental and expectation nature of yoga? How can we change this perception for those who aren’t so bendy and for those who want to uncontrollably trow themselves in dangerous postures?
Students look up to studios and instructors for guidance, they role models and gurus. Emphasizing to let go of ego and take your time throughout practice by building control and awareness is important. I always let my students know that it is okay to be where they are in that moment, there is no need to go deeper if the body is comfortable where it is. If students want to go deeper, I suggest they give their body a chance…at. that. moment. Not rushing into any posture, breathe, and when they feel ready, can go deeper as long as it is with control and awareness.
But as students how can we make ourself better people and not judge Bendy Betty? We need to recognize our bodies’ capability. We need to learn to listen to our body. Everyone’s yoga journey is different and happens at different times, at different levels and in different parts of the eight limbs of yoga. We have to recognize that Bendy Betty is in a different part of her journey, she is only thinking of herself, as we should only think of ourselves in our yoga bubble. Yoga is a selfish practice. Honor your body, honor your accomplishments and honor your life.
For more about the 8 limbs for yoga, see my previous blog: 8 Limbs of yoga: Patanjani’s Yoga Sutra’s
Theiss, E. (2013, May 6). ‘Hot yoga’ is gaining popularity, and injuries are increasing too | cleveland.com. Retrieved June 27, 2014, from http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2013/05/hot_yoga_is_gaining_popularity.html