Fitness has always been easy for me. Well, I should correct that and say that the concept, the rules and the structure of exercise and fitness make sense and are controllable and manageable. This makes it fall into the "easy" category of my life. Fitness was a disconnect from the mind. What you put in, is what you got out. No thinking involved and as simple as that. Not to say that the process or the work itself is easy, running a marathon was more than difficult and no weight lifter will tell you that the journey there was rainbows and sunshine. But in my mind these are doable things with a start and finish. Yoga felt that way also. I would see "yogi's" practicing these crazy poses, I would pin images from pinterest of my "goals". Even if some of these seemed off the wall, they were still something I could put time and effort into and see an end result. I figured if I worked hard enough and stretched long enough eventually I would reach these goals.
Then I actually started yoga. And not just going to classes. I had been to classes before and I had practiced at home. In fact I did most of my practice at home, in front of the T.V. I also held my breath on the tough poses and almost laid into the deep stretches. What I was doing was maybe a version of yoga, but what I was gaining was nothing compared to what yoga could give me. I actually started the process of a deep and meaningful yoga practice my first day of teacher training. Although I did hope for teacher training to deepen my own practice, I did not realize to what extent that would happen, or how I could not truly become a teacher without that happening. In fact I assumed it would be similar to every other certification I have. Study, go to trainings, take home a bit of information to apply to myself, take a test, and then eventually apply the knowledge in the work environment. I expected to learn a lot of course, but I didn't understand how deep that education would go. One thing that I definitely did plan for was to be decent at the poses. I admit I had a bit of confidence here. Maybe its because I am the most athletic person in my family so it has always been easy to impress, or maybe its because I have a certain level of fitness that gave my ego a boost. But I figured I would have no trouble with the poses after a bit of practice. Never have I been more wrong. It's not that I was or am bad at the poses or that they are unattainable. Its just that I never realized that there is no end result with them. You can always move more into the stretch, or hold the pose with better alignment. And the number of yoga poses is almost infinite. The goal is never to work to a certain point and stop, the goal is to continually push your limits (safely of course) through the journey of your life and practice. And more than that the goal is that there is no goal. Your practice is what you bring each day to the mat and to your day. It doesnt matter if you can twist your body into a million angles while in the upside down lotus pose or if you can barely get your arms strait in down dog. What matters is that you come ready and open to the process. What matters is that you embrace what the practice can give you.
This is how yoga humbles me. I can't just short cut the process or push myself to finish the race. I have to be patient with my practice and my poses. I can't come to practice making a to do list or going through my day. I have to come ready to be present. I have to leave my troubles at the door. I have to accept where I am in my journey. I have to understand that my journey in yoga is not one that is necessarily like anyone elses'. I can't hope to impress my co-workers or friends with my super flexibility. I have to change how I present my yoga in general. My whole view of yoga has changed. I am humbled beyond measure and I appreciate it. In fact I love it and I am thankful that I have started this neverending journey.