Why do we always want more?
I have noticed something for a long time when I teach....that many people feel the desire for MORE. On the mat, we want to continue to learn MORE challenging poses, even if we may not be physically ready for them and put ourselves at risk of an abrupt injury. Also, especially for super flexible people, I see the need to feel MORE sensation in poses, such as forward folds, again potentially increasing the risk of a long-term injury or joint instability.
And as teachers, we have a big responsibility with the words we use when you cue poses. I believe there is a tradition of using words such as "go deeper" and "twist more" that should be reconsidered. I personally do not believe that twisting deeper into the pose makes it better or more beneficial and I do not want my students to think so either. So, I try to be careful with the words I say. Do I get it right all the time? Of course not. But I try my best to help my students learn what feels good for them.
And off the mat, we are taught to want MORE...more money, a bigger house, etc. And I'll tell you something, I am the most content in my life right now than I've ever been. And I'm making less money than I've ever made. That does not mean that life is easy. But something my yoga practice has taught me is that achieving that next thing does not change how you feel. I can do a handstand...but I still suffer from stress and anxiety in my every day life. And the way I've learned to combat those things, is not through more but less, by slowing down, by regulating my breath, by bringing awareness to my thoughts and my control over them.
So I encourage you to take a look at your practice. What is it that you want to achieve? It is o.k. to want to learn and grow and be challenged. But maybe it is not your main goal. And maybe you are kinder to yourself along the way towards achieving your goals. I want for you to feel good in your body, as well as enjoy your practice. Don't beat yourself up if you can't do something. And maybe challenge yourself to do something different than you usually do. Your practice is a gift.
My goal in my practice now is to feel good in my body, to be able to practice for the rest of my life, even though my practice in ten or twenty years will probably look different than my practice today. You can see that I still challenge myself, but I am in no hurry. I've sustained too many minor injuries that have taken longer than I would like to heal to push myself too hard in my practice. I know that sometimes we have to learn these things for ourselves, but I want to share what I have learned with you and get you thinking about your practice on and off the mat.