One of the very first things a student learns is mastery of the body. This is no simple task. A student runs into this difficulty when in savasana, or meditation at the end of class. Many people cannot lay still, or even shut the eyes, when they start yoga. After that, usually people can lay say, for 5 or 10 minutes, before the twitching starts.
You see, the more thoughts running through the mind, the more the body want you to be a slave to it. If you listen to it, the dialog is like a 2 year old. When you are laying in savasana, it says, “Itch my nose”, and then I will be happy. So you don’t give much thought to it, and just itch your nose. Or the body says this, “My _______ hurts”, and your mind jumps to the conclusion that the yoga made your body hurt. Before long, we just go about our day, pleasing our body. Maybe it wants alcohol, so it can relax. Maybe it gives you a headache, so you pop a pill. For any sign the body gives, you work towards pleasing it.
One of my favorite yoga sutras (knowledge of yoga) is translated as such…. “When the images start to hurt you, sit down and work on the antidote.” Basic meaning? When your body tells you something, sit down and figure out what steps to do, to alleviate the discomfort. If you don’t know the steps, go to someone with more experience in such matters, and get their advise.
Sometimes, your yoga teacher is enlightened enough to know this step. Maybe he/she has trained many years in yoga, and knows how the yoga works, and can help you over the knee,hip,whatever pain. If you are practicing yoga somewhere, and you get pain over practicing it, this is wrong. This is not the way yoga works, unless your teacher doesn’t know alignment, or the deeper aspects of how yoga really works. This is why people take yoga teacher training. They want to know how yoga really works. Some programs will tell you, some won’t. I’ve worked with many clients with problems. Bigger problems (such as pain in the body) don’t disappear overnight. Usually, like the tide, they ebb and flow, start to slowly get better, and better, and then they disappear. For success, there has to be a collaboration, between student and teacher.
Caution!! Studying with a teacher is one of the most important steps you can choose when practicing yoga. When you just look at your teacher, most people think a successful “enlightened” yoga teacher will be very flexible. Enlightened people come in many forms. Some are handicapped, portly, or in general, not who you think might be a good yoga teacher.
Practice yoga every day. Learn how it works. Study with someone who knows how yoga works. It just might change your life.
See you on the mat,