Rachel: Chasing asanas 

In one of my very first few classes of yoga, the teacher said at the beginning of class to “leave your ego at the door”. I did not really understand what that meant and didn’t think much of it. As we progressed into class and worked towards the peak pose, as a beginner, I found it unattainable and was frustrated as I saw other students get into it easily. That’s when I caught myself— was this my ego speaking? What was the root of my frustration? I was not sure if I was disappointed in my body or if I was concerned that I could not show others my success.  As I continued with classes, I found myself chasing pose after pose, sometimes exhausting myself and ultimately not even reaching the pose. One of it was trying to pike into a headstand. While I was able to steady myself in a headstand from teddy bear by then, I just could not enter through a pike. I was not sure what the reason was—core? tight hamstrings? I kept going at it to no avail. Then, I just stopped doing headstands– because I think I
just lost interest in something I had nothing new to show and be proud of.

After one of our physical sessions during YTT, one of my peers offered to help video me getting into a pose, and with my forearms on the mat, I just decided to walk into a headstand position. As she began filming and I continued walking my feet to my face, I took a breath, tried to activate my core and in that split second, both my feet lifted and I let out a gasp. Jess would often tell us to stay calm while getting into a pose but my heart was leaping! I wasn’t sure what exactly I did, but with regular practice while working on other poses, I was probably strengthening my core and shoulder strength such that the pose became accessible to me now.

I’ve rewatched the video many times, always with gratefulness and a tiny bit of pride. Because this pose was aresult of consistent practice and guidance from my peers who have offered my tips, teachers who helped to check my alignment and a little bit of courage. More importantly, it will always be a reminder that yoga does not owe anyone anything, and that ego is a disservice to the practice. A reminder to examine my intentions, chase progress and growth, rather than the end result.

Feb’20 Weekend YTT