For the past few years my yoga journey has consisted of restorative yoga, basically lying on the floor and having a nap. I have been embarking on the wonderful task of completing my degree and instead of practicing flows and intense-ness I have dedicated my practice to relaxation and restoration of the mind. So now my degree is over and I wanted to push my yoga to the next level and restart with the flows and intense-ness of harder practices. In order to do this however, I have had to start from the beginning. This has taught me a great deal.
Going back to yoga basics has been the best thing I could have ever done and for reasons I never knew existed. Usually when I stop a particular exercise or thing for several months or years when I come back to that practice I come back expecting to be at the same place as when I left. For example, last year I took up running, I built my runs up to 10 miles. I stopped for a good few months as I had a lot of university work on. At the beginning of this year I restarted running expecting to be at the same place, I wasn’t, but I allowed my ego to push me to where I thought I needed to be, at the 10 mile mark. This harmed me mentally, this is not something I realised at the time, but since starting at beginner level in my yogic practice I have realised the extreme damage I did.
This extreme damage forced me to stop running altogether. Why would I expect to be at the same place? Why does it matter if I am starting out walking 1 mile or running 10 miles? The important thing to remember is the starting point doesn’t matter, what matters is keeping turning up, what matters is slowly deepening my connection to the activity, slowly getting better not only physically but mentally, allowing the beauty of being outdoors to win out over the amount of miles I have amassed.
I am so grateful I decided to restart this yogic practice without ego, I wanted to get on the mat and enjoy the process, not allowing myself to get in my way so to speak. Bringing ego to the mat can ruin the experience and dampen the true benefits of yoga, the beauty of the mental and spiritual journey.
I was surprised by how much I am learning by going back to basics, I am learning about my body and how I hold myself in poses, how to hold them better and in a way which benefits me more, I am learning about the foundations of the practice and building a real love for the practice. Had I jumped straight into an intermediate class I would have been overwhelmed, but my ego would have forced me to finish, to hold that asana for that length of time, even with my body screaming to let go, I would have forced myself to bend in a way which I just couldn’t. I would have mimicked the same response I did from my running, I would have harmed myself mentally and may never have gone back to the practice.
If I could give you any suggestions from today’s post its to go back to basics, it doesn’t have to be with yoga, it could be something your currently a pro level at, something you gave up on a long time ago or even something new, try it at the very beginning and see how it fits in your life now, and also try it without expectation and without ego, leave those thoughts of well I should be at this level, I need to complete this, I have to be great at this. Leave all that at the door and simply exist in the task, notice your breath, how your feeling, how your body feels, is your mind wondering?
I would love to know how you get on or if you are going to give this a whirl, let me know if the comments below!!!!
Have an amazing day