“When I practice, I am a philosopher,
When I teach, I am a scientist,
When I demonstrate, I am an artist”
- Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar
Last night was my first Iyengar yoga lesson of the year, and the ache in my muscles this morning reminds me that I really should have practiced during the holidays. Having only been at it for 6 months, I still feel like a yoga newbie – a feeling that is exacerbated by the fact that there are still some poses that my body simply refuses to do! My hamstrings seem to be the most resistant muscles of all, and that burning sensation that I feel when attempting even the most elementary of standing poses, seems to be mocking me and my attempts to improve. It is at times like these that I am always amazed at how terribly un-supple I actually am! Granted, this isn’t a new thing – I remember getting yelled at by the school nurse in Grade 3 because I couldn’t touch my toes – but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
Despite my struggles with unsupportive muscles, I can definitely see an improvement in both my body and my mind. Believe it or not, I often find the relaxation part of the class even more difficult than the poses, however I am slowly learning how to focus an incredibly uncooperative mind. You may be wondering what on earth I am complaining about – how can relaxation be difficult? But try forcing yourself to lie still on the floor for ten minutes, without allowing yourself to think about anything at all, and tell me how you find it. When I think that some people are able to still their thoughts on command, I realise that I still have a long way to go before I am truly enlightened. But at least for now, I can revel in that great feeling of accomplishment that I experience at the end of a class, and know that the ache in my muscles is all worth it!