Patience in our Yoga Practice
Listen :: Feel :: Hear :: Speak :: Try :: Grow
There’s a line from an old song by the group Kansas (I’m dating myself here) which says: “Treat yourself so gently though the task is often hard.” I found myself saying that recently at the end of a yoga practice. I was frustrated about a particular yoga pose and was about to become very self-critical. I stopped myself before I started, because I realized that the criticism that I was about heap on myself was totally unjustified. Even more importantly, as I later reflected, in yoga it’s really unjustified to criticize yourself at any time. As tough as it is, even after a long and difficult practice, we need to practice treating ourselves gently.
What happened to me was kind of silly when I think about it. We’d finished the regular yoga practice and a couple of us lingered to talk, as we often do. I was tired but wanted to practice a yoga pose that I wasn’t comfortable trying at home by myself. The pose is urdhva kukkutasana, which is not an easy pose at all. The final pose has you in a crow pose posture, but your legs are folded into lotus position. Every time I tried to lift my head off of the ground from tripod pose, my legs kept slipping off of my legs and I’d fall. I got frustrated and that self-critical voice was about to rise. Then I stopped and realized that I had already mastered so many other poses to get to this point that it was silly to be so upset. Crow pose, tripod, tripod headstand, lotus tripod headstand, all of these intermediate steps I’ve accomplished. Some day I will get that last piece of the puzzle, and then move on to the next challenge. There was no need to be angry with myself.
Here’s the thing that I try to tell myself when I hit a frustrating time in my yoga practice; I’ve already accomplished the most important part. I’m practicing yoga. Each day practicing yoga is a good day. Even if my balance is off, my quads are screaming, my postures are messy, I’m doing better than I was before I started practicing yoga. Every day that I practice, I’m better. The next time you’re frustrated with a pose, try to treat yourself gently and recognize all of the progress that you’ve already made. It’s pretty darned impressive what you’ve already done. Keep practicing.
- Purcellville Loudoun Yoga – Photo Lara Ward