Today marks exactly 3 years since we started practicing Bikram Yoga.
The other day one of the teachers got Tony to demonstrate a posture (balancing stick) and before he did it, she said “Now… remember, Tony has been doing this for a very, very, very long time.”
I know what she meant and her intention for saying it. Tony’s balancing stick is very good and he does look like a see-saw and you can’t expect to get your posture that way if you’ve only been practicing a day, a week, a month etc but still, one “very” for every year seemed a bit much. 😉
Maybe she thought he’d been practicing for longer!
So… 3 years. It feels strange. When we mentioned we’d been practicing yoga for a year we were so proud. At 2 years we were thinking we were pretty awesome. Now at 3 it feels different. It’s very humbling.
3 years in a lifetime’s journey is so short, not very long at all. 3 years of practice is too short to be great at something but long enough to realise it.
What do I mean by that? Well, when you first start yoga, breathing, half moon, awkward and eagle have you gasping for air, wanting to sit and gulp down water. When you get through it there is a sense of achievement and relief. Then the teacher tells you that was just a warm up. That moment when it dawns on you that you could barely get through a warm up and you’ve got another hour to go – that is a humbling experience.
As you progress and practice more often, you can get through the first 3 postures no problem but by the end of the standing series you’re ready to collapse. You feel pretty awesome about getting that far. Then one day the teacher says, all of what you’ve just done was the warm up and now the floor series is when the real yoga begins. That moment when it dawns on you that the teacher isn’t actually being sarcastic or joking and you realise that you just barely made it through a warm up and now is when you must really start pushing – that is a humbling experience.
Now it’s been 3 years. We can get through the entire 1.5 hours no problem (for the most part), you get to the end and then it hits you. Without the teacher saying anything you realise, this is the beginners series! It’s not intermediate or advanced. It’s beginners yoga. That moment when you realise the whole thing is a warm up and there is an entire series of postures that exist beyond and in addition to what you’ve just been struggling to do – that is a humbling experience.
3 years is long enough to start going through the motions and practicing on auto-pilot. More concentration is needed to listen to the teacher, you need to push harder to get any further improvement on a posture, the teachers start tweaking a posture you thought you were good at. Now the real yoga begins!
We are but babies on this journey but we’re proud of how far we’ve come and grateful for every moment we’ve experienced.