Students often ask me about injuries in yoga and how ‘normal’ is it to get injured on a yoga class. For me, yoga and injury should not even be in the same sentence, unless we are talking about yoga therapy for injuries. Yoga is a healing practice, not a competitive sport. I believe you shouldn’t even have sore muscles after a good yoga class, unless you were pushing yourself and going over your limit, which is not the classes or teachers fault, but your own. After your yoga practice, whatever it may be, you should wake up to a new you, improved on each level of your being, if only by a little bit. You should not be injured, frustrated or feel like you have won the award for the best performance.
Bigger, better, faster
We live in a fast world and it’s spinning out of control. We try to speed things up every day so we can do more things in less time. It’s a competitive world where we have to be the best at whatever we do. Being modest will often get you nowhere. This is the way many ‘successful’ people live today and this is the way we sometimes approach our yoga practice. We run, and rush and compete. But, you cannot rush yourself to grow faster, no more than you can rush a tree to grow at your desired speed and to your desired shape. Nature takes its course and doesn’t care about our wishes and desires.
So, if you take your practice one step at the time, you won’t feel like you need to get anywhere. There will be no frustrations and no injuries. So, don’t run. Walk and enjoy the walk, see what you can learn along the way.
Yoga is mindfulness. Yoga is our connection to ourselves that is often broken by all noise, bright lights, false ideas of who we are, that overwhelm our senses and lead us astray from our true Self. Being good at your job doesn’t make you a good person. Being great at advanced asana doesn’t make you a good person either. Or a great yogi. Handstands and arm balances will not enlighten you. Being a good student and keeping your Ujjayi thought the class won’t either. What makes you a good person is your capacity to change yourself and the world around you for the better.
We should use our yoga practice to better ourselves on every level, but not just to improve the quality of our own lives – but also to help others and change the world around us.