Fear not the one who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. Fear the one who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. ~Bruce Lee
Last week, during my morning Ashtanga Practice I had an ah-ha moment. I am slowly getting into the habit of doing Ashtanga at least three times a week. So far I’ve completed the standing part of the sequence and almost done with the seated part. My goal was to complete the full Primary Series. When I went to my class I was eager to learn the next pose in my sequence as this would make me one step closer to finishing the seated sequence – eventually the series. I looked at my instructor with excited eyes and asked in my usual high pitched singing voice, can you assist me with the next pose?
My instructor in a calm manner said “next time” and smiled. I said “ok,” smiled back, closed the sequence I knew and left class for the day. Something clicked here. On my train ride to work, I asked myself 3 things:
I have been practicing yoga for 3 years now. I absolutely love being on the mat and looking inwards. Recently, I started practicing Ashtanga Yoga. I was truly inspired by the dedication and discipline of Ashtanga. I naturally gravitated towards the structure of each series. So I began my journey through the Primary Series. Here is what I learned:
1. Practice, practice, practice: The obvious one. It must be done at least 3 times a week. With practice comes improvement – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Practice is key!
2. Perseverance: Ashtanga Yoga requires a lot of patience. I expected to go into class and learn crazy handstands and lifts. I had a “superficial” view of Yoga. Don’t get me wrong, handstands are amazing and takes time to learn. However, Yoga isn’t just about handstands. Its a deeper and a personal journey.
Stand in front of a mirror, strip down to nothing and stare. I want you to stare at your naked body and start to observe everything…
How does it make you feel? Empowered, liberated or ashamed?
Often times society shames us of the most natural thing – our bodies. We are told to cover up since we were kids. The very thought of a naked body creates awkwardness and even controversy. We ourselves hate our bodies. Either we’re too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too dark, too light…the list goes on!
How can we break free from these bad habits?
1. Get naked everyday:
Free yourself from all the negative connotations. Get naked and truly accept your body in all its glory. Love every inch, every curve and every line. Let your body speak its own language and tell your unique story.
2. Be liberated:
We are restricted by our fears and getting naked can be a fearful experience. However, staring at your bare self will feel so liberating. Its just you, learn to love this you. After all you are not the clothes you wear or the shoes you buy, you are this beautiful work of art. Its time to shatter all these media driven images and love your glorifying body.
1. Life isn’t a straight path: It has twists and turns and sometimes you have to back and forth or side to side. Its okay! Tell yourself “I am successful.” no matter where you are. The more you say this, the more your mind will believe it. Believe that you are successful.
Challenge: Everyday when you look in the mirror, say “I am successful” – report in after a week of saying this!
2. Jump in: Seize the opportunities that arise. Don’t over think and short sell your abilities. You are capable of anything. Sometimes when I want to practice, I would spend 20 minutes thinking about my schedule for the day. I realized this was counter-productive. Overtime I’ve learned to just do.
Challenge: Engage in what makes you happy…Stop over thinking and start doing! 🙂
Getting up to teach in front of new faces is always a bit nerve wrecking. Even after you prep and practice, the thought of standing in front of a room with all eyes staring at you can be tough. I remember teaching my first yoga class. I spent days and nights putting together poses and its modifications, writing down endless amount of instructions, practiced with friends and mirrors and then finally the day arrived and I got in the room.
I sat down in front of a quaint and cozy room with about 10 eager students in front of me. I opened my mouth to speak; my words came out shaky and soft. I was moving my hands a lot and I felt all over the place. And that’s when I learned my first lesson…
1. Don’t judge yourself: I was up there judging myself instead of believing in my training and everything I learned. I was so hard on myself that I went blank in the middle of a sentence. As I was fumbling to find the right words, I paused. I took a long slow deep breath and told myself to relax. Once I hushed these thoughts I was able to focus better and truly deliver what I prepared. Not that I wasn’t nervous for the rest of the class, my voice was still a bit shaky but I was able to handle it better as I stopped allowing my own thoughts to distract me.