I am often surprised at how much I learn about myself and my own yoga practice by watching other people practice yoga postures. What I notice is that many people tend to “make an enemy” of their body (myself included). If we can’t do a posture to the level that we believe we should a sense of commanding, pushing, or pulling come into our practice. We can be rough with ourselves, moving in a way that creates tension rather than spaciousness.
I really didn’t notice that this was how I practiced until I saw others doing the same. I often practiced with my arms and legs, reaching and grasping, rather than initiating slow controlled movement from my core. I held my breath and scrunched my face as I yanked my body into postures. The goal was to get farther and deeper.. not to explore the journey along the way. It is funny I did this because I never really thought of myself as a person who didn’t “stop to smell the roses”. But alas, in my yoga practice, I was driven to quickly get to the end destination with little notice of the flowers along the way.
I am less flexible now than I was a few years ago. I am less impressive with my pretzel like abilities. But my carpal tunnel has gone away and my torn meniscus is almost healed. My body feels soft and comfortable. I wouldn’t trade this new style of practicing yoga for anything. This approach I have moved towards feels sustainable and like something I could do into my old age.