"Success" in Yoga

Mike Munro's picture

Working with yoga is a lot about working with your mind and what ideas, beliefs and attitudes you have towards your body. With hatha yoga your are engaging in movements and positions that could potentially align body, breath and mind together. With a practice that brings the body, breath and mind into a harmonious state, you are left physically and psychologically nourished by the practice. I am curious about people's ideas are about success in yoga. Lately I've been thinking about having a successful yoga pratice as making it part of my lifestyle more that anything else.

When you enter into yoga practice with an agenda other than nourishing one's mind and body, then something different is taking place. The first limb of yoga in Patanjali's yoga sutra contains the notion of "non-harming" as the first principle. So it is something to contemplate. To what extent are you taking care of your self and creating a harmonious mind and body and to what extent are you bringing an intention into practice that is not serving your organism? I have come to realize that success for me is just making yoga part of my lifestyle rather than trying to push flexibility beyond what is natural for my body in that moment. This is what makes my yoga practice sustainable.

One thing that has helped me see this is meditation. Without meditation you may not even notice what thoughts and beliefs you take into the practice, into that posture in that moment. With meditation you become more familiar with recognizing states of mind and thoughts. If you find this worth exploring then prehaps it is a good time to consider making meditation a part of your daily practice so that you can see what your habitual tendencies are and nurture the ones you really value. Habitual attitudes toward the body are often less conscious and conditioned. If you want to take a wholesome approach towards practice, it may be necessary to take a closer look. Are the ideas you take into the practice unconsciously about your body really the ones you want to cultivate?