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Experience Yoga Here and Now: The Lunacy of Trying to Be Better
When I first heard my teacher talk about “the lunacy of trying to be better,” I was not convinced. Of course, we try to be better, don’t we? If we weren’t trying to be better, then we wouldn’t come to class, and we wouldn’t practice. But that was at least a year ago. Now I see the wisdom of her words.
Of course, those of us who love yoga want to improve our poses. But we cannot “be better.” We can only be as we are in this moment. The more you want to “be better,” the less capable you are of being present.
As soon as you try to “be better,” in a pose, you have divided yourself into a mind that directs and a body that obeys—or doesn’t. You’re attempting to live as an improved future version of yourself. But that self doesn’t exist, and never will exist. You will never be practicing yoga in the future, only in the present.
The irony is that if you drop the idea of improvement, and immerse yourself in sensation, improvement is automatic. The more you let go of judgment and attachment to results, the freer you are to experience the pose.
This is why long holdings are so beneficial. We need time to gather the pieces of our shattered awareness and place them in just one spot. We need time to enter the pose, doing the actions we know will take us in, and then, at the end of actions, we need to pause, to stop doing and just be.
I was raised on the refrain: “Good, better best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better, best.” And although my brother and I fought it off with, “Bad, worser, worst, never call a hearse, until your bad is worser, and your worser, worst,” the message stuck with me.
Now I’m learning to let go of better, and of doing. It’s not easy. But one day I hope to find myself in a place beyond the doer, and become awareness itself, which is, after all, the whole project of yoga.
BodySensing: Intuitive Yoga for Myofascial Release - A course from YogaUOnline and Yasmin Lambat.
More practice tips and inspiration from Eve Johnson - Reverse the Curve: A Five-Minute Yoga Practice for Hyperkyphosis.
Reprinted with permission from My five-minute yoga practice.com
EVE JOHNSON is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher with 18 years of teaching experience. Since 2016, she has been exploring Spinefulness, a postural system based on the work of Noelle Perez-Christiaens, one of BKS Iyengar’s first western students and the author of Sparks Of Divinity. Eve especially values Spinefulness for the presence and ease it brings to yoga postures and to everyday life. She teaches at Yoga on 7th, in the South Main neighborhood of Vancouver, Canada.