One Week of Yoga

Most important lesson learned from a full week of yoga: commit completely to whatever you do.

I began the week in class sort of trying to be humble but mostly impatient to learn new poses. I am ending it reflecting and realizing that it’s best to dump my ego on the floor and shatter it into a million pieces, to come to the practice humble with open heart and open mind each day so that I can really learn.

My teacher yesterday said,

“Asana is all or none. Come into the pose in one fluid movement. No overthinking, no excuses, no little in-betweens.”

Learning isn’t always straightforward:

Though I’ve been going to class consistently, I’ve realized work — discipline, inquisitiveness, passion — also must come outside the classroom to develop an individual practice. I felt so good after my class on Saturday, and was able to hold Sarvangasana for 5 minutes straight, that I came home and continued to work on the pose.

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Self-affirmation is essential for progress, too. When we were getting into shoulder stands and headstands, my teacher said, “Say I’m gonna go up, and then GO UP.” That mental power sometimes is all you need to achieve something physically remarkable.

Today, I finished learning Surya Namaskara B today. Starting and ending in Utkatasana (chair pose) is quite tough. I always underestimated this pose and never committed fully to it – but every pose, every breath is in the Ashtanga Yoga series for a reason. So full intention is what I plan to devote from now on.

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There is a saying in Vedanta that “The greatest guru-dakshina (gift to the guru) that the student can give is for the student to become the guru.” I may not be able to do all the advanced physical asanas that my teachers can do right now — my body is still learning — but I can internalize their humility, purity, and selflessness, and bring it to my practice each time I come to the mat.

What an incredible start to a lifelong journey!

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