I had a recent conversation with a new friend about my journey into yoga. Nearly ten years ago I started my own practice as a way to supplement all the physical work I was putting my body through training for triathlons. My muscles were tight, my posture was compromised and my mind was a bit chaotic. Through yoga, much of that changed.
Fast forward a few years from my first yoga experience, I attended a 200 hour training. Here I learned much more in-depth about philosophy, the eight limbs, meditation, sequencing, anatomy and the asanas (the physical practice). This training set a strong foundation in what I do and how I approach my own practice and as an instructor. To help build off of that, I was just accepted into a one-on-one year long mentorship. Here I will work with a teacher privately to build on what I know and where I am today.
We tend to over stretch where we are bendy and collapse where we are dense. Finding correct alignment rather than always taking the path of least resistance is a challenge. So this is where we set the foundations for future poses. Simple doesn't always mean easy. Learning to breathe. Creating space. Taking time. Allowing ourselves to really explore.
Instead of using the body to get into a pose, use the pose to get into our body....
During the conversation I had with my friend, I said that I still was not super flexible and that's why I teach beginners. I understand what they are experiencing. I love teaching to students who come to their mat for the very first time and can be in the same room as someone who has been practicing for 20 years. Taking a basics yoga class is something we all need.
I think it's great that people try to challenge themselves with new and more difficult poses. But at the end of the day, it's perfectly okay to say, "Great if I can, Great if I can't."