Why we should stay with the yoga principles?
I’ve wandered through many yoga studios, took classes with different teachers and experienced different styles. And there are still some things which seem to be unclear about yoga. I see students getting angry on their body, when they are not achieving the perfect pose. Frustration about the limits of the own body instead of accepting personal conditions and practicing self care. The competitive character of sports is often present in yoga classes.
How can we transform our yoga practice into a practice of self love and self care instead of competition? How can we stay with the yoga principles?
But Yoga can be so much more than sports. Yoga provides the potential to transform much more than your body: You can reprogram your mindset, break with old habits and change your life.
There are some simple clues of how you should live yoga to stay with its origins and connect with its potential.
Yoga principles: no.1
Yoga is no competition
Even if some countries already start with the first Yoga championships, we should remember original spirit of Yoga: Yoga is not about competition. That’s its difference to a lot of other physical practices. The next time you catch yourself in a yoga class watching your neighbor and thinking “damn is this girl flexible”, give a shit on it! Close your eyes, come back to yourself and celebrate your own accomplishments! Comparing with others and competing is NOT Yoga. Yoga is being with you: stay with yourself, observing your present state of mind and body and discover the asana going as deep as your body (and mind) permits. There’s no need to compete, not with your class mates – and not with yourself. You are just as perfect as you already are – in your uniqueness. And that’s something we should tell us everyday.
Yoga principles: no.2
Yoga is non judgmental
Judging is another well known quality we learn to cultivate from young age. In Yoga we are allowed to let go of it. And that’s liberation. Just as we don’t compete, we neither judge. We don’t judge the person next to us about what he or she can do. And less we judge our own body about its achievement or flexibility of todays practice. Because everyday is different. One day we are able to do crazy poses and just one day later for some reason our body (or mind) doesn’t allow us to go that far. And that’s ok. Don’t get angry with yourself or your body. In Yoga we don’t judge – either our neighbor nor ourselves. We meet ourselves and others with love and acceptance.
Yoga principles: no. 3
Yoga is acceptance
Instead of judgement and competition, we practice acceptance. Yoga teaches us to accept our personal limits, our individual states of mind and body. And within this acceptance and letting go of control, we liberate ourselves of limits. It’s acceptance and surrender that finally leads us to accomplish certain states of body and mind, we haven’t even dreamed of before. No rush, no pressure, no control. It’s in a state of self love and acceptance where we start to feel free and connect with the greatest strength within us: an inner power that is able to cross any borders and transform our life.
At the end, what we practice on the mat teaches us lessons, which are present off the mat – in our life, our everyday. It transmits a state of calm and peace, bliss and completeness. That’s the power of yoga.