For me, as I have gone forward 60 years on my life journey, one of the most difficult lessons has been to get out of my own head and stop comparing myself to others in yoga asana (or any other physical practice). Having taken 10 plus years of ballet as a younger self, competition to be better, stronger, more graceful, etc. was the norm not the exception. Being surrounded by mirrors and other who were “better” did not always serve my sense of non-competition.
Yoga in my 20s, 30s, 40s was very different than how I can practice now. The wisdom of life has given me the gift of learning that I have to be more “conservative” in my practice, gentler, especially for hips that are “not happy” sometimes.
Having completed 200 hr YTT has provided me with framework to work through my own practice. Understanding my “strengths” has also allowed me to create “work-arounds” for myself and going forward with teacher training, it makes me even more aware of how I can emphasis the concepts of “aging gracefully”.
I appreciate your piece. This learning is true for me as well. I find when I begin to compare, it takes me out of the present moment, feeling, etc that I am in. I had an idea about a year ago that I needed to learn to do a headstand again as I was able to do when I was younger. A lot has happened since that idea, and I realize that that is something that has passed now for me, and to be present in my body and what I am able to do now is honoring being where I am at this time of my life. I love that there are other ways to do inversions and to see the world from other angles, even if I am not able to be upside down in that way anymore.
I agree with Deb and Monica’s posts. Knowing what we need (body/mind/spirit) now is important. My RYT 200 teacher training helped me deepen and broaden my personal practice. Additionally, it helped me understand that many aspects of life I saw as separate enjoyments were actually yoga.