‘Stay in your lane. You don’t need anything from anyone else, try to be self-contained in your practice.’
Whaaat? What does this mean? I was sharing this concept with some of my Yoga students recently. Being aware of “Now” alerts us to the reality that we have everything we need in this moment. There is no need to fret about our limited physical flexibility–it will come with practice. There is no benefit in being self-critical or even competitive with the student in front of you who may jump back from a standing forward bend directly into chaturanga with little effort. Do you question your motives for showing up for practice? These things are not important. What is important is that you honor the principles for right living, core ethics, self-control–the Yamas, the Do’s and Don’ts of life as codified by Patajanli in the Yoga Sutras. The basis for being a good and happy being.
When one attends a yoga class–newbies and seasoned practitioners often come with varied emotions. Sometimes there is uncertainty and dis-ease with unfamiliar chanting, alignment, and breathing stuff? What’s that all about, right? Then there is the competitive ego creeping in with, “..I’m gonna rock this headstand, wheel or camel pose better than anybody here today.” But, if you are not practicing from the basic Yamas–ahimsa (non-violence), saucha (pure thought/authentic), contentment (santosha, a Niyama) won’t come swiftly. Your benefit lessened, as will your joy and fulfillment. Essentially, you will need that much more practice. In that Yoga is not just about asana (poses) or meditation individually, you must approach each with an effort to meet balance.
It is easy to get distracted by someone else’s practice. However, if you try to bring your focus back inwardly to you, breathe, and smile, you just might be able to let go then strive for equanimity. Sure, contentment (santosha) may be unsteady because the reality is, that today you can only touch your shins instead of your toes in a forward bend. The temptation to not topple the person next you in class that’s in a picturesque Half-moon pose is screaming non-violence (ahimsa). And how can you be authentic and pure of thought (saucha) when all you want to do is shout “ta-dah” when you’re able to swing both legs through to seated from a long held downward-dog?
Here is the message, be mindful of your path(s) to Yoga so that you develop a more balanced, harmonious and calming positive way of being. The end game is a meld of a healthy mind, body and spirit–enlightenment. The path to enlightenment is strewn with detractors..ego, pleasure pits, gluttony, denial, and disease. If you can inhale and exhale a big “haaa” breath, refer back to the Do’s and Don’ts (Yamas/Niyamas) for right living, you can stand proud that you’ve stayed in your lane.