Yesterday, my teacher posted an article titled “Reasons Your Ashtanga Teacher May Not Be Giving You More Poses.” Since I have all the poses I need right now, I did not open it up right away. Later in the morning, I clicked to the article for all the articles she refers to us generally have some helpful bit of information for me to glean. While reading, I pretty much nodded my head as went down the list…until I came upon the item about pushing too hard. I paused, remembering a conversation that occurred during Monday’s Mysore practice.
T: You aren’t pushing are you, Julie?
T: Yeah, pushing?
M: My leg?
T: No. You?
Giggles were heard coming from a nearby mat or two. My yogini friends who know my long standing endurance athlete tendency to push aggressively towards any and all goals. Honestly, in this instance, I didn’t think I was pushing – or pulling for that matter. But when she told me to soften I felt myself relax right onto my exended leg in Janu Sirsasana to such an extent that I could easily grasp the forearm of my outstretched arm. My whole body oo-d “Ahhh” as my teacher assisted me in the magical way she does.
I was still a little dumbstruck when she walked away to assist the next person. I moved on with my practice, trying to be mindful of not pushing yet careful to stay engaged (physically and mentally) where appropriate. Since I am still in a situation where I must to rely on my home practice to maintain a six-day-a-week practice, I need to learn to recognize when I am being too aggressive. It’s funny – because I spent much of my marathoning days racing hard to a point but never quite pushing hard enough to hit my goal.
As I maintain my six-day-a-week practice AND, at the same time, train to build up to a 4 day backpacking trek in the Grand Canyon, this distinction will be valuable on the mat, on the hiking trail, and in life in general. Quite frankly, I think it’s a good lesson for all.
What about YOU?
Do you have a tendency for pushing too hard or are you one that has to be pulled along? If you’re like me and have a tendency to push, where do YOU tend to catch yourself pushing too hard? Can you recognize it on your own, or has someone had to point it out?