Getting "Good" at Yoga
I got an email the other day with a note from a Yoga teacher in Columbus who's class I used to attend.
She said she'd taken this down in her notebook about a year ago:
"I’ll often hear students say, “I’m not good at yoga.” What does ‘good' at yoga mean? I have a regular student whom I strive to be like.
David definitely has one of the most inflexible bodies I’ve ever seen.
But his personality is the opposite. He’s always willing to modify, never looking around the room comparing himself.He’s doing what he needs to do.
Now I'm not sure I'm a model student or anything like that. In fact, at that time in my life, I was doing yoga because I was overly stressed. And truly, I can barely touch my toes.
But this raises an interesting question...
Who is "better" at yoga...
The person who enjoys every minute, and laughs when they fall?
Or the person who strives to be great, attends every lecture, pushes themselves and the moment they don't achieve they're upset?
It starts with looking at the heart of what yoga is.
What's the goal? Or is there a goal at all?
Or similarly, with meditation.
Who's more "meditative;" the person who wakes up excited and grateful, has a clear mind while at the store, while with their family...
Or the person who wakes up precisely at 6am, uses oils, sits in the correct posture for 20 minutes and recites precisely their mantra, but without quality and presence?
So is it about the sitting and the postures or the stretches or is it about a certain type of embodiment?
And are you allowed to have something if you didn't struggle for it?
See, some people arrive, often, even if not all of the time, but without the struggle.
Others practice so that they can one day arrive, and then think that by not arriving yet, they must be doing something wrong (sometimes the case), so they double down on the practice with such intensity that "arriving" becomes even further from their grasp.
Following a prescriptive-adherence to the rules, which ironically blinds them, entirely missing the point of a practice.
Let's look simply at the reality here.
Arriving can only happen today. Because that time in the future, always becomes a today.
And so even if it's not full, even if it's just some cracks of light shining through in your practice, your study, or your work. What we're looking for is bringing a certain quality to our approach.
That's what getting "good" is.
And it starts today.