There is a belief that many of us hold, that we have to progress or strive in life. We get meaning from meeting challenges and achieving our goals. But is this the truth?
Recently, I taught a Mindful Hatha yoga class with the intention of supporting people to grow in their asana practice. I wanted them to feel more confident in taking on postures that were out of their comfort zone.
I soon realized that participants have different intentions or needs. Not everyone wants to master a flow series or explore more challenging postures.
In fact, for practitioners who have come to yoga later in life, it may not be possible or advisable to attempt moves that put strain on wrists and knees, or require a strong core and flexibility…. And don’t get me started on trying heated yoga when your internal body temperature gauge is already worn out!
As we go through life our attitude and beliefs also change. Imagine your lifespan like a yoga class sequence.
Life is like … a yoga class
We start with the warm ups and prepare for later on.
We learn new skills and practice them to become more masterful.
We take on more challenging positions.
We keep learning and striving until we reach our peak.
Then we shift attention towards finding balance.
We slow down and tune in more to what is happening in our mind, body and inner being.
We let go and take the time to nourish and restore ourselves.
Older yogis, like myself, may enjoy a good challenge now and again, but for the most part, we are at the stage in life where finding balance and appreciating the beauty of slowing down is more important. At the same time however, we must also maintain our strength and flexibility to stay healthy and mobile.
For me, I want my already worn parts to last me for as long as I need them! Muscle strains and tissue tears are no fun as we age, and can take a long time to heal.
Sometimes I forget. My job as a yoga teacher is to ensure my students are safe, and that they listen to what their body is telling them, not what the yoga teacher wants for them. Tuning in more to the participants and less to what you think they “should” be doing, is key to becoming a masterful yoga teacher.
Let us all encourage learning, and also be aware of when our own ego has taken over the class.