Friday, 1 May 2009

Yoga and ego

I am often surprised when my yoga students brave the elements and come to yoga on a cold, wet, wintery day or evening. I guess the adage, "First you drag your body along to yoga, and then your body drags you along to yoga" is about right!

I had to go to the hall today to fetch the blankets - they need a wash and there is no rain on the horizon so it seemed like a good idea. On the way I stopped in at the Telecentre to find out if there were any takers on the Yoga/Meditation Workshop that I am running (on behalf of the Telecentre) in a couple of weeks. Jenny asked me if I would take the Telecentre camera and get a photo of me in an asana to publish in the Walpole Weekly. Roland said he'd come and do the photography. Being in this situation is not so good for the ego because of the temptation to do something quite ... difficult. However, good sense prevailed and I sat in swastikasana (auspicious pose), took chin mudra, and lowered my eyes. If that photo is used I'll be pleased; otherwise one similar to the one here would be ok.

The point I'm making is that it is not a good idea to put people off by doing something complicated. The tendency is for them to think, "I'm too inflexible to do yoga, I couldn't do that pose!" so they avoid coming along. I believe you don't come to yoga because you're flexible, you come to yoga to become flexible! Swami Venkatasananda was known to say, "Whatever you can do today is perfect for you today" and I think that is about right!


Swami Venkatasananda

3 comments:

YogaforCynics said...

My sister in law used the "I'm not flexible" argument with me. I called her eight year old daughter over and showed that I could put her feet behind her ears (and then she surprised me by getting into a full lotus without using her hands) and said "that's your flesh and blood there..."

skyewriter said...

Some of my excuses has always been, I can't breathe after doing one full sun-salutation, downward facing dog hurts the heels of my hands, and tree-pose makes be realize how I cannot "sway."

In all seriousness I always return to yoga. It seems to be the only form of exercise that helps me physically and mentally. I just wish I could be more consistent...

Eleanor said...

Hi Skye - I find that the more you do sun-salutation the more you can do! If you do only do one, the trick is to do each asana with total concentration and hold for a couple of breaths.

I think I'd go completely crazy if I didn't have yoga in my life!