There was a time when modifications were the enemy. If I found myself taking modifications, I would judge myself and consider it an off day. Each time I took a modification I thought, “Okay, I will take a quick break and then I will pick it back up”.
After succumbing to a few modifications I would sink down to my mat and decide if I wanted to express a shy shame in Childs Pose or a very public one in Savasana.
“Okay, Savasana. I’ll commit.”
The class is taking Pigeon. "Ooo, Pigeon!” I thought. I peel myself up and find Pigeon. Next is Camel. “Oh God. I can’t do it. Not today.”
Class concludes with Plow and Shoulder Stand. My favorites. I join them.
We all come down to Savasana and I feel very confused both mentally and physically. Did I just get off a Merry-go-round?
Why do we have these practices? The ones where we can’t seem to breathe deep enough or long enough, where we come out of a flow feeling like we held our breath under water, we fall out of tree, sit out of core work, and take multiple child’s poses with a sour taste in our mouth. We leave the room telling ourselves, “Today was not my day”.
Would it have been our day though, if we would of surrendered to what we really, truly needed? If we had of dropped our knees in Chataranga, held Downward Dog for a fraction of the flows, relieved tight hip flexors in a low lunge, taken bridge instead of wheel and embraced Child’s Pose for all of it’s glory?
What is stopping us from discovering this practice? Which insecurity? Which fear? Which self-judgment and badgering must I tackle to find the peace of mind that allows me to have the practice that I need?
Then it hit me.
This surrender. This submission. This is progress. This is advancement. Right there and then I realized it was the moment I had been anticipating-the moment my practice advanced. The same moment I discovered it, I let it go. It was irrelevant, debilitating and reeked of ego.
Don’t get me wrong. I still want to do Drop Backs, Scorpion and jump from Crow to Chataranga. But not at the expense of my practice, not under the direction of self-abuse and certainly not before I am ready.
I am liberated. I am free. I can, and want, to practice yoga everyday, all day.
My practice has become balanced now. It feels natural and whole. When my practice feels forced, rigid and unsteady it’s because I am fighting it. I am swimming against the tide.
When you grant yourself some understanding and compassion, some space to explore your practice, and a little Ego-death you’ll be surprised at what you find.
I am grateful for modifications. They complete me.