One of our problems in yoga practice is that we want to get somewhere. We imagine that if we practice more and more we will get some special benefit or powers or enlightenment or something. I can remember when I first started I was practicing a particular style and it was a three year programme and I had been at it for about two years and imagined I was making great progress. I was able to do more and more asanas and pranayamas . Getting very flexible in my body and holding my breath longer in the pranayama.
One day I was on a mountain in the early morning doing my wonderful practice and I had managed to get one of my legs behind my head and thought if only I could get the other one there then I would be better at yoga. This was a turning point for me. Would I be a better person with two legs around my neck? Would I be more enlightened? I was practicing towards an idea, a goal. This took me out of the moment on the mountain with the sun shining and peace of the rocks and flowers. I was only interested in the future, the goal, the ambition. I would to go to yoga classes and compare myself to others, to the teacher, to the pictures in the books. The comparison took me into either feeling inferior or superior.
It’s so tricky, now I ask am I putting myself in a superior position by writing this article ? These type of questions are important to me.I like the zen approach of ‘nothing special’ just sitting, nowhere to go, nothing to do. Just practice and sometimes just practice even when you don’t feel like it. Sitting with the not feeling like it feeling, that is the practice, sitting with the disappointment, the anger, sadness, joy whatever is here. This is home, this is arrival in myself.
Charlie Stevens will be teaching the Philosophy content during our Teacher Training Course.