Yoga is not about touching the toes…

Today’s practice was a total disaster. It created a wreck out of me at the end. I was not in tune with my breath, and I kept thinking if my arm or lower back could take that one step further. My ego self got the better of me, and I got crushed. Today, it was so hard to let go of yesterday, to let go of what I was able to do pre-injury. It was so hard to just be in the present, to let go of everything and be ok with whatever little I could do on the mat. In all the yoga blogs that you read, you seldom come across posts that tell about their bad practice. The picture was always rosy, and even if they were struggling with an injury or bad time on the mat, they still seem to always emerge the conqueror. 

But, today I was defeated. I kept questioning why, what, when,how. Why did this happen to me? What I am suppose to learn from this all and how am I going to overcome this? When will all this be over and I can resume my regular practice? And of course, these silly questions or “citta vrtti” made me feel worse.

I whined about it to my best friend, B. And she just replied this: “Remember, Yoga is not about touching the toes…” How convenient for us to always forget this! It never was about touching the toes! Its the process of getting there.

Too often we get caught up in a particular goal that we do not pay attention to ourselves, if the goal was even realistic or attainable at the current stage of our lives we are in. I was so intent on coming up from my drop backs till the point of frustration that I didn’t care what it took for me to do it, ignored the alarms from my body telling me I’m doing it wrongly and that I should just stop and re-evaluate. And finally, after reaching Laghu Vajrasana in the Intermediate Series, my poor lower back whom I have been quietly ignoring gave way. The crunched up pain was too hard for me to bear alas. And the most amusing part, I thought that by just pushing myself ahead, the pain will go away. My arm was another story. An egoistic me, while deciding to try out a jump through to show that I can do it, felt something in my arm snapped or pulled beyond its normal range. And again, because it didn’t cause much pain, I ignored it. And obviously, it got worse. Why…why do we have to wait till its too late to realise what we were doing was wrong? Why didn’t I listen to my body and quell that fiery ego. What do I have to prove? So what If i have the best back bend or the strongest arms but not being able to practice humility and patience? Where’s that going to take me? No where. No where at all.

I have much to learn….but first, to learn to let go of my regular practice and the past. To let go of my dogs and be happy with my baby cobras and child’s pose. To live in the present and accept that my injuries are here to befriend me for a while more. And it probably will not go away till it has taught me what I need to know.

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