Why do we always feel that we have to work hard on ourselves? On our relationships with others? On our job? Well, on everything. Why do we believe that everything has to be hard work? Why can’t we allow ourselves to deserve an easier way?
Why do we believe so hard in the “no pain, no gain” motto. Why not being easy on ourselves and allowing ourselves to take the easy route so we can fully relax into it and enjoy it, instead of choosing pain and hardship?
Take yoga for example… A few years ago, I used to refuse to use props. I thought that I should aim to do the posture fully, without any aid. The “right way”. I thought that props were for beginners, or people with injuries, or just another form of materialism created by and for western yogis. I thought I wanted to learn yoga “the proper way”. So I chose hardship, I refused to use props. “Oh no, not me!” for I was going to do it the hard way…
Fast forward a few years later and watch me with all my back problems. Forcing and forcing and forcing some more to get my back to be more supple without any props didn’t do me any good. At all. Little did I know back then that I had spinal degeneration, along with an array of other problems.
Now I am the Queen of the props. I use them all the time. And I love them. Using props can be so creative. I’m the one who has a wall of blocks, a bolster and a ball next to me when I practice. Oh and did I mention the strap and the blanket? and my handmade eye-pillow??
I love my props! Why would I force my body in any uncomfortable posture if I can just use a prop, go half way and fully relax into the pose?
I have learned the hard way and have become a prop advocate. Whenever I teach yoga, I encourage people to use them. And I use them in front of students even when I don’t need to, just to show them how to use them.
The physical practice should be steady and comfortable – this is what is recommended in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the major texts in yoga: Sthira Sukham Asanam.
Our practice should be steady and comfortable.
So no need to force our bodies into all these crazy shapes. As long as we can practice comfortably, we are enough. In yoga – and life in general – we are all good enough.
So that said, we can all relax now.
Yoga is one thing we can’t suck at. I remember watching this interview of Moby a few years back where he was saying that for him, the day he realised that he was never going to be “good at yoga” was a revelation for him. Yoga is about bringing yourself as you are on a mat and accept where you are at right now. It will change. You will have “good days” and “bad days” but it’s about appreciating these changes and where we are right now. Because right now is what is the most relevant for us, right?
Somedays you will feel like working out and some days you will just want to lie down and try to just breath. And that’s ok.
To me if you can relax and enjoy your practice, and as long as you feel better afterwards, that’s the main thing.