“Yoga is the journey of the Self,
Through the Self,
To the Self.”
–The Bhagavad Gita
I began my practice in yoga because a yoga studio opened up near my house and I heard good things about the practice, so I decided to give it at try on its opening day. I remember aching later in so many muscles that I did not know I had. But the breath and gracefulness of the yogi that taught me and those others in my class kept me coming back for more.
Over time as I progressed in my yogic journey, I became frustrated when I couldn’t get into postures that seemed so easy for others (think: urdhva danurasana). I even thought that some people were just more “talented” in yoga than me. So I tried to practice harder, which led to some mild injury. I remember seeing a graph on instagram that charted out what I thought was a very apt description of the journey – excitement in the beginning, stupidly over-training in the intermediate stages, before gaining wisdom in the later period.
I have come to learn very personally the concept of respect. As practitioners of yoga, we must respect the process and our bodies. What is to be attained is not the pose, but longevity of the breath in every movement and longevity of the practice (read: not “training”). Each body is built differently, and what comes easy to one may well be impossible for another. As teachers of yoga, we must respect the student. Each student is at a different place, lives a different life, has a different thought, wants a different thing.
And most importantly, as humans, we must respect the breath. Our life force. Our prana. Our self.