There are two sides of me that attend a yoga class. The challenging me and the agreeable me. I think to an extent both of these will always attend classes with me. I believe we call that balanced.
The 'Challenging Me'
The challenging me was ever present when I began my practice many years ago. I was a runner and fell into yoga to stretch and work on some injuries. In running, we are always trying to beat our last time. I brought that with me to my yoga practice.
I learned the poses as quickly as I could, so I could take each pose to the most advanced level. I was that person that pushed myself into a pose just so I can say I did it. I did that balance, twist, headstand thingy and I’m sure I looked awesome.
The teacher offered up different modifications, so of course I took what I felt was the most advanced. I mean she offered and it would be rude not to accept, correct? I never forgot to breathe and I was centered. But this might not be the full truth.
It was hard for me as a competitive person to not look around a class and see who was taking their pose a little further, and want to follow along. If they can do it, I can do it. WRONG.
Meeting The 'Agreeable Me'
Fast forward a few years, I had a pretty severe back injury sideline me from all physical activity for a short time. No running and no yoga, but hey, my doctor said I could walk. WALK?!? Fine. So I started walking. And walking.
Then, I got the green light to start back into a full practice. I admit to being a little nervous walking into yoga class after my short break. Could I still do the poses? This is when I was introduced to agreeable me.
The teacher offered Child’s pose. That’s sweet. Yes, I will take it. So my practice became slower, more thought out and actually stronger. Agreeable me would say things like “you don’t have to take this pose that far today.” Sometimes the two me’s would argue.
One day, the chatter would consist of “why don’t you take the pose a little further” or “slow it down, take care of your back." Then to my competitive amazement, I realized I had actually been holding back in fear of creating a new injury. Me, hold back! Never.
But one of my teachers came up during class one day and said, “You know you have the strength…you just need to trust yourself a little more." Had I pulled away from the challenging me?
Learning To Balance The Two Me's
Our bodies are different each and every day. Our emotional state is different each and every day. Our needs will change to accommodate this. We need both our “me’s."
I learned this through my ever changing practice and coming to my mat each day to see what I needed. Some days, it's Child’s pose and I have to quiet the challenging me. And on other days, I need to push myself to go a bit deeper. There are days when agreeable me will say “I’m fine just to sit here and do nothing” and some days, that is what is needed.
However, there are days I have to respond, “No, get up. We have to move." I believe we call this balance — something that we all strive for and hope to achieve on some level. It’s an ever evolving scale because what can be balanced one day isn’t what is balanced the next.
I wish I had a formula to give that will help you attain balance not just in your practice, but in life. But unfortunately, there is no formula. We all have to hear the conversations in our head, and learn on which days we need to take a step back, breathe in our moment, and tell them to shut up.
by Mina Kashani – Mina feels her yoga journey began at birth when she entered the world in fetal position. Since then, she has worked to strengthen her practice, humor and writing. She is a 200 RYT and when not teaching can usually be found hiking or taking classes from one of the great yoga teachers in Nashville, where she lives with her husband and daughter.
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