Most yogis strive to practice Satya or truth. And, while many of us accomplish this in our word and action, sometimes our mind betrays us. And, sometimes we don't even know it! Examining how we think on the mat is one of the best ways to hold ourselves accountable to our Satya. And, know you are not alone! Here are some of the most common 'lies' we practice on the mat. Notice them and catch yourself having an authentic moment.
1. More is better
Too often we fall prey to wanting to push. But sometimes we need to remember– more is just more. Each pose should be digested and understood. If you have questions– ask! It is important to remember that once upon a time asana was taught directly from teacher or guru to student and you did not move on until you had mastered your body (and mind) in each pose. Now, yoga has transformed into something accessible to everyone (yay!). With this transformation though, comes a higher degree of student accountability. YOU own your practice. Your teacher is a guide. And, 'more'– Well, when more is offered, sometimes it's just more. Like a double bacon cheese burger of yoga, pushing yourself to do more is not always good for you. Remember to digest your poses.
2. When I can do ………. then I will feel ……….
Advancing in asana is great but it will not solve your mind. As teachers, we often share advanced asana because the qualities needed to execute those postures requires a steady mind both on and off the mat. That being said an individual can have an advanced practice and still be struggling with the whirlings (chitta vrittis) of the mind. Simply: Advanced practice does not always correlate to samadhi(bliss). You can have rockin' asana and still be a meanie! And, thankfully, bliss does not wait for a posture. It is said that the best tools for mastery of the mind are not open hamstrings but Faith, Self-control, Determination, Concentration, and Patience. Following, we can begin to master our minds in any pose at any time. You can begin to affect your feelings the next time you unroll your mat!
3. Everyone else 'gets' this but me
One my favorite teachers once said during yoga 'It's okay to have a hissy fit'. I think I love her a little more for that. So often we practice and might feel confused or upset or tired or out of touch with what is 'going on'. This is normal. But instead of recognizing this is part of our journey, we make the MISTAKE of self-judgement and comparison. We believe that our feelings are 'wrong', when in fact our feelings are AUTHENTIC. Yoga is not only chanting and breathing and moving. Yoga is a practice. And, at its heart, yoga is a practice of you connecting with you. Yoga is an opportunity for you to say to yourself– 'It's okay to feel what is happening'. It's okay to have a hissy fit. Yoga is ultimately a practice of you witnessing you.
4. My teacher is perfect
A good teacher is a life-long student. Yes, just like you– your teacher is a student. And, this is how it should be! And, while there are some things that can be studied (anatomy, Sanskrit, philosophy, etc.) much is understood as it is experienced and lived! Teachers go to the edge but that doesn't mean they never fall. Remember, when you are more uncomfortable you are probably learning more. The best teachers will happily admit that they learn by doing and learn even more by failing. So go ahead, take your teachers off your mental pedestal and let them grow with you! Don't begrudge your teachers for their foibles– ask them about them! A good teacher will share how they have grown.
Remember, it is our humanity that connects us– not our false 'perfection'.