The perfection in every masterful yoga posture is actually a demonstration of years of hard work. While postures may look peaceful and yogis may appear calm, the reality of yoga involves much more disciplined effort than instant grace. In other words: there's no magic yoga dust that you can sprinkle on your body to produce ease and flow. These are qualities earned with daily devotion to the practice.
Many new students want to see results fast and they get frustrated when it takes longer than they expect. If you push too hard, you may actually sabotage your progress. Every journey contains some missteps and obstacles along the way. To climb the ladder of yoga into the depth of the subconscious mind is a descent into the underworld of your thoughts and emotions. When you face these things, yoga asks you stay and cultivate a calm, steady mind and a loving, forgiving heart.
I used to push myself really hard every day in my life and in my yoga practice. On days when I faced my biggest blockages and I'd go nowhere, I didn’t accept it. I would fight and struggle with myself and my body. If I did not “win” the battle, I'd beat myself up and get frustrated and angry. Most of that aggression was directed toward myself, but it didn’t make me a nice person. I was self-competitive and I lacked a sense of humor.
After 15 years of practice, whatever ego attachment I had to getting anywhere fast has slowly and perhaps systematically been broken. I do my daily practice and work on many of the same things that I've always worked on: getting stronger, going deeper in backbends and maintaining a balanced mind.
The difference between then and now is that when everything goes completely wrong and I fall out the postures or fail entirely, I don’t get mad at myself. I know that yoga is a lifelong practice and what matters most is the peaceful attitude of acceptance, forgiveness and joy. Yoga has taught me how to laugh at myself, especially in moments of epic failure. After all, it's only yoga.
Watch this video to see me totally eat it and come up laughing!