B. K. S. Iyengar wrote in his book “The Tree of Yoga” in my translation, that you don’t have to practice for years and years to find enlightenment, you can find it from the beginning, it depends how you practice.
Yesterday I was lucky to meet an amazing woman, a fellow yogi in the studio after my teaching and practicing. We landed into a conversation about the physical practice of yoga, the teaching of yoga, basically everything that 2 yoginis would get so deeply into a conversation that 1h flew by like a second.
As an Ashtangi ( “Ashtangi” becasue my heart practice is Ashtanga Yoga), I know how common and easy it is to fall into the path of physical practice and goal oriented practice. My pose was Marichasana D. It was the first year of Mysore practice and all I wanted was to get that bind! So in short because of my lack of body awareness; obvious ego because everyone in the room were doing the pose easily; and what I would now say common sense to say to the teacher that my knees are in such an uncomfortable place that they hurt, I “broke” my knees. Both sides twice. So asana was my goal.
Now looking back, physically my hips were tight, my breath was weak, my mind was bubbling with anger to get that pose right.
My lesson was that enlightenment is the practice and practice is the enlightenment. Perfection is the imperfection and imperfection is the perfection. Without accepting, that everything changes we cannot find the perfect composure.
The conversations we had with her, really lifted my soul and made me scratch this thought about physical practice even deeper. And this is really what yoga practice should give you in my thought: to scratch deeper than the surface, deeper than the asana.
In any style of yoga, it is still YOGA. Attain the curiosity like a child to see the things that are unseen and feel the hidden interior, find the darkness where light doesn’t hit and become familiar with those places. Don’t settle for the asana!
Said all this, I still embrace Ashtanga Yoga, Dharma Mittra, Rocket sequence, Yin yoga – they are all beautiful practices and from all of them (and others) we have so much to learn.