It was only just recently that a student asked me about injuries from yoga. After a little thought I explained that, considering yoga means “connection” or “to Yoke”, by sheer definition, there can’t really be an injury in yoga. It’s only when we are not “in Yoga” that there’s a chance of injury.
I like the idea and practice of physically challenging myself and, as a facilitator and teacher, also prodding, poking and challenging others on the mat; but when all is said and done, it’s about being totally absorbed in the sensitivity of what’s happening for you in your own body as well as how this plays out with your breath. In other words, finding your edge and working it gently, with compassion and sensitivity! Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a vinyasa, for example, or trying to do what others are doing. The thing is, though, that we are all so different physically, as well as mentally and emotionally. And in fact, even spiritually. There’s no point, therefore, to try to compare ourselves to anyone else, on any level. Also there is no hurry in trying to achieve anything when it comes to our physical practices. One of my mentors, Baron Baptiste, once told us as a group that. . . . “if you try to force aflower to blossom, you’ll break the petals off!” The power of these simple words has stayed with me. Just as a flowering plant needs to be nurtured regularly and over time with the right amount of sun, water and nutrients, in the same way we need to nurture ourselves with regular and sustained practice over a long period of time (in the words of Patanjali, abhyasa and dirghakala). Then, just like our flowering plant, when the right time comes, our bodies and minds will begin to blossom. You can’t force anything. More important than achieving a certain form or look in a pose is how you feel during and after your practice. Forget about bravado. It has no place in yoga. Forget about aesthetics too. Let how you feel be the gauge of success! Michael.