When I started doing yoga about 15 years ago I kept hearing how my practice would evolve and grow and soon I could take the poses to a new level. That did happen. I was a diligent student, although a little competitive. Not just with myself but with everyone around me. The first time I heard the teacher say “and if you can, take the bind”, I didn’t have a clue what she meant. I looked around and noticed twisted arms and legs and I was not one to be left out. I managed a bind by sheer force and ego, holding my breath the whole time. If this is what it meant to evolve my practice I was going to do it. I half expected a little applause for my results but it seemed everyone else was going to their zen place.
For the next several years I became addicted to my practice. Not only for the spiritual benefits but for the physical as well. I wanted to make each pose as advanced as possible, because after all, I was a yogi. I tried to practice keeping my eyes on my mat but couldn’t help but let them wander around the class. My thoughts were consumed with other people’s practices – “He can do a headstand in the middle of the room”, “She can jump back from crows pose”, “She’s wearing a cute top”. Come on, who hasn’t checked out yoga fashion in class? I always ignored it when my teacher would say “the smartest yogi in class is the one in child’s pose”. Has she met me? I thought those people that went into child’s pose while the rest of us advanced yogi’s were the furthest thing from smart
Then it happened. An injury that made me feel as if my body was betraying me. I had to modify certain poses, and on some I just couldn’t do. This was embarrassing, because I was sure that everyone in the class was looking right at me with sympathy and judgment on my inability to create the perfect pose. Frustration lead me to ask myself why I was practicing. The shocking answer I came back with was to be the best. How laughable. I thought the best thing for my fragile ego was to start from the beginning. I started going with a friend to her Iyengar class which was very hard for someone like me that needs movement. I heard on more than one occasion “settle down, Mina”. Sigh, how could I? I was the creator of the Ego-asana.
Thankfully I can say my body is as healed as its going to be and I’m back to my daily practice—WITH MODIFICATIONS. I believe my lesson is this – my practice has evolved. It has evolved to meet my body’s needs and limitations and with that I can go through my flow knowing I am exactly where I need to be. Which on some occasions is child’s pose…thank you very much.