I’ve noticed a change in the way that I approach poses–especially difficult poses–since I first stepped on the mat.
At first, I would watch in awe as our teacher demonstrated a pose–the eagle, say, or the dancer–and couldn’t imagine myself stepping into the pose at all.
If it was a pose that required balance, I doubted that I’d ever find the balance to hold the stance for more than a moment.
And if the pose demanded a certain level of flexibility–a deep twist, say–I would laugh to myself, convinced that I would never acquire the kind of flexibility needed to do such a twist.
But slowly my approach to the poses began to change.
I started where I was… and began exploring the pose… without expecting perfection.
Each session on the mat taught me to accept what my body could do.
And in the process of coming to such acceptance, I began to understand that my body had changed since first stepping onto the mat.
I had grown into certain poses that I thought I’d never be able to do only because I’d given up my assumptions of what a pose should look like or how I should feel in any given pose.
I had to accept the demands of the pose… and how my body might (or might not) respond to those demands.
Now, stepping into poses such as the eagle or the dancer, or twisting while balancing on one leg into the half-moon, I no longer doubt myself or what my body can do.
I’ve stopped looking for perfection in each pose.
Instead, I’ve learned to accept where I am–wherever that may be on a given day–and to work within the limits of that day.
I try to let the pose unfold, even if that means falling out of the pose, or never quite managing to step fully into it.
Through my weekly practice, I try to accept things as they are.
It’s not always easy.
But on those days when acceptance comes–when I can truly accept life as it is–I find a small measure of comfort and peace.
Journal Practice: Do you have trouble accepting things as they are? Or do you accept things as they are too easily? Write about your feelings of acceptance in your journal–how you define it, what acceptance might mean to your yoga practice, and, more importantly, what it might mean to your life off the mat.