As I look back at the past years, I begin to see more and more clearly how my relationship to the practice and the teaching thereof have changed. I remember when I was a new teacher 7 years ago, I wanted to teach big poses to a room packed with people, drenched in sweat, with a kickass playlist. Nowadays, my practice and for sure my classes look and feel very different. Now I revel in the depth of simple poses. Put me in Triangle Pose and I will be intrigued by the complexity found in something so seemingly simple. Silence has become a much treasured element and while I still love to sweat, it for sure is not a benchmark for a satisfying practice anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still love a good, strong, flowy practice to some great tunes, yet my priorities have shifted I guess. More than anything I want my yoga practice to be sustainable for years to come. I hope to grow old, still able to practice. The practice may change as I do, yet it will remain a consistent source of renewal, connection and insight.
For something to be sustainable, we have to see things in the long-term view rather than short-term. We must take small, consistent steps rather than big leaps. There is this great saying "slow and steady wins the race". I think we all know this to be true (and yes I know, it may not be the best analogy since yoga is not a race, but you get the idea. Slow and steady gets you where you want to go. Go too fast and you will crash...). In asana this becomes so apparent: a part of us always wants immediate satisfaction (touching the toes, getting into the pose quickly, doing what they are doing etc). We might even be willing to compromise our long term goals and health for that little moment of gratification. Yet somewhere down the road we always pay a price. A torn hamstring , backache, shoulder pain, you name it. We pay for our short-sightedness one way or another.
While we all have this somewhat impatient part of ourselves, we also thankfully all have a part that is incredibly wise and actually does see the value in working slowly and attentively. The thing of course with the 'slow and steady' approach is we need to be steady. To see the benefits, we need to stick around long enough. Simple things practiced with full hearted dedication, consistently, for a long period of time will change you guaranteed! More than ever I know this to be true.
In my own practice this idea translates as a willingness to investigate the simplest things with a high level of attention. It translates into doing one thing in a variety of ways, not only for the sake of creativity, but rather to experience and understand one thing from several perspectives.You keep looking at the same thing from a number of angles and you begin to see all its hidden layers and textures.
In my teaching, this "slow & steady approach" translates into prioritising the student's long-term success. One little thing at a time builds up to something long-lasting.
Well, these are my musings for today. More is to be said on these topics for sure on another day..