Adhikara translates as “studentship.” This means making a wholehearted, dedicated effort to being a student of yoga. Adhikara implies that we are open for deeper spiritual study and respect for what is being studied.
As a test of my Adhikara, I spent the last month exploring a wide variety of studios and tried over 20 teachers.
I know we say that yoga is non-comparative and non-competitive. On an ideal mat we don’t compare ourselves to others, but how do we know what we prefer or what better suits our tastes and personality if we don’t try different teachers, retreats, or studios?
Stay Open to the Holistic Experience of Possibility
This openness that comes with being a yoga student includes your dedication and willingness to explore different styles and teachers. You will find that not every style or personality will suit you, but don’t stop trying. Otherwise, you are refusing the pleasure and opportunity to learn from someone new.
That’s the most important part—being a student of yoga means embracing everyone and being open to the holistic experience of possibility. To me, that also means each of us as students is responsible for making that class the best of our lives!
Being a great student of yoga is co-creating right along with your teacher the most delicious alchemy where we become yoga (yoked, in union).
It is then when we are living our Namaste: the light of what is good in me sees and celebrates the light and goodness in you, and together we celebrate the beauty and love that exists within us and outside us!
Understand that Learning Is a Process
In the full spectrum of learning, practicing adhikara also means that we meet the practice based upon where we are today. Just as a grade school student would struggle in a graduate class, so should a yoga newbie give it time before they join an advanced asana.
When I learned to play piano, I began by practicing scales and chords before I moved to full songs. The same goes for yoga. As conscientious students, we should devote ourselves to learning the fundamentals before advancing beyond what we are ready for.
As I frequently say, don’t expand too far too fast. Practice is defined in the Yoga Sutras as something that takes consistent effort over a long period of time. Don’t be concerned with how long it takes; follow the road of the tortoise and not the hare when it comes to Adhikara. Your body and your mind will thank you.