Resistance is futile

I sometimes wonder whether I will ever have enough humility to practise yoga with any true commitment.

Two snapshots from class today:

We were in Child’s Pose and I could tell what was coming: it wasn’t intended as a resting pose as often in class, rather it was meant as a posture to bring us to our knees and then some; a place to lay the body close against the earth and truly yield our place. It was explicitly a posture of obeisance. And I’m not good at that. I’m not ready and trusting enough to let go and pitch myself forward into such open-hearted submission.

Later on in class I found myself instinctively shifting my stance in Vīra 1, taking a longer, stronger shape as I sensed the teacher approaching my mat. “Good! I knew you were holding out of me” was her comment, and she passed on by without offering an assist. And I took this as a small yoga victory, smiling inwardly — even as I know the practice is not meant to be a battleground, that I’m supposed to welcome the teaching, not pit myself against it, and not brace my body and tense up my breath when I’m offered physical assistance.

So I’m kind of feeling like a bad yogi. So much mind chatter, so much hostility. But I’m also practising forgiving myself for all these perceived shortcomings. This was never going to be an easy class for me: first class after illness, guest teacher, a physically demanding sequence…

All in all, I’m left feeling acutely and achingly aware of how little I know, how little experience I have, and how easily I constrict and slip back into habitual patterns even when I have thought I’m making good strides in another direction.

Hmmm, it’s all pretty humbling really!


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