Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to Get Your A+ in Yoga

Students often ask their teachers how they can know when they are good at what they're learning. "How do I know I'm doing it right?" ..."How do I know I'm mastering this?"

People who practice yoga will often get caught up in the idea that to be a great yogi is to be great at creating shapes with their bodies, nailing a pose, or even worse, bending their limbs into the most extreme possibilities. 

The truest test of how good you are at yoga is this: how peaceful are your relationships with other people? 

Consider a few day-to-day scenarios that will immediately indicate to you how masterful you are in the art and science of yoga:

1. Someone cuts you off in traffic, nearly causing you to swerve into another car. They give you the sorry-I-did-that-open-hand-gesture before speeding off. What you do next will indicate how good at yoga you are. 

2. You best friend confides in you that they are cheating on their spouse. The thing you say and think next will indicate how good at yoga you are. 

3. You wake up after a night of unsatisfying sleep, one-too-many glasses of wine and a bloated stomach from eating your feelings after dinner last night. You pull yourself together enough to get to work. Once there, your co-worker pays you a genuine compliment on your complexion and your outfit. The thing you say and think next will indicate how good at yoga you are. 

4. The barista at your go-to coffeeshop explains to you that they are out of your preferred brew/milk alternative, etc. What you do next will indicate how good at yoga you are. 

5. For the second time this month, one of your colleagues is given a raise or special recognition for doing the same kind of work that you do. The way you react to this says a lot about how good at yoga you are. 

Some other things to consider:

If you haven't laughed at any point this week...your yoga practice might need to be modified. 

If you think that girl who practiced next to you yesterday and nailed her hand stand/ warrior 3/ tree pose is a bitch...your yoga practice might need to be modified. 

If you believe that wearing LuLuLemon makes you a superior yogi...your yoga practice might need to be modified. 


Sometimes we can lose sight of our heartfelt intention, when something we love becomes inundated with fashion, popularity, goal-orientation and a plethora of other people's opinions (including mine!). Take a moment every now and again (or better yet, at the start of your class before you get moving) to consider why you are practicing this age-old wisdom tradition that aims to quiet the distraction of living in a world of variety, and encourages us to know ourselves as individuals, in a deep and intimate way (warts and all).

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