Yoga instructors always advice students to only progress into a pose once their foundation is strong and not to force any pose should they have an injury. So the other day, while I was in a hot class, we were working on Tree Pose (Tadasana). Those who could were advised to move into Toe Stand Pose (Padangustasana) and I did, except I realised that along with me is the gentleman next to me who had just complained about having knee issues! Part of me wanted to back out of the pose, cause I didn’t want him to feel the need to always get into the “final pose”, as it happened several times during the class.
It is absolutely essential that when practicing your asanas that you LISTEN to your body (and your teacher). No pose should cause any sort of pain, nor should any pose be forced as it can lead to injury or worsen a current injury. Sometimes the injury might only occur after 3 years! Also, overexerting yourself during a hot class is particularly not recommended as the heated room already loosens your body and enables you to go a little further naturally.
However, it got me thinking of how even during a practice where the core/aim is to slow dowwwnnn we continue with the rat race. Where we are today is not good, nor was yesterday or where we might be tomorrow. It is shocking in way that we have been conditioned this way. How has it become wrong to acknowledge ourselves and pat ourselves on our shoulders?! I too am guilty of forgetting the purpose of yoga from time to time, luckily because of my consistent and daily practice I end up remembering it more often.
The thing is that this approach crops up in almost every area of our life and yes, it is hard to suddenly turn it off during a yoga class. Though why don’t we see it as an opportunity to be kind to ourselves for those 60 or 90 mins? Sweat, breath, and enjoy the process.