I get email updates from Yoga Journal and am often inspired by the short texts they send. Here’s the latest:
Do you ever look at an advanced yoga practitioner in an awe-inspiring pose and think to yourself, “I would never be able to do that!”?
Join the club. Most yoga students can relate to being envious overwhelmed, or discouraged when they see someone doing what seems to be an unobtainable pose. But instead of concentrating on your own shortcomings, next time try to focus on the potential in your yoga practice—if not physical, then certainly spiritual.
Although there will always be exceptions, most accomplished yogis didn’t come out of the womb with the abilities they display in those awesome postures. They used yoga as a tool to gradually improve their flexibility, strength, and concentration—just like you’re doing. And remember, yoga isn’t about being able to shape your body into a pretzel. It’s about what you learn about yourself while you practice that matters.
That’s what I love about yoga. I have had the experience of thinking I could never do what the person next to me is doing … and now I’m doing it! I never thought my heels would reach the floor in downward dog. I never thought I would even like downward dog. Now my heels hit the ground, and I revel in the stretch and strength I feel in the pose. I have long struggled with “threading the needle”. I only recently began to understand how it can open my over-tight shoulders. Now I want to learn more.
But these ideas go far beyond a yoga practice. “One step at a time.” That’s what it’s all about. And it’s about taking that step. My mom always tells me, “you’re never done!” Sometimes that is an overwhelming thought!! Now that I have lost a lot of weight, it feels like I should be done. But I’m not. Alas. I find myself slipping into frustration and negative thinking – back to old habits. Just like yoga, this new way of being is a practice. It isn’t as thought I dust off my hands and declare, “there! Now I’m finished!” Nope. I have to keep practicing. One step at a time.
For me, that means going back to logging my food. And changing negative thoughts into positive ones. Looking at myself in the mirror and seeing the good – even the beauty. It means taking a deep breath and letting those negative thoughts go with a big exhale. One step at a time.