Table of contents
What is it about
On the first day of my recent workshop in Bogota, Colombia, I asked the participants to reflect on the following three questions:
- Past: Why did you start to study yoga?
- Present: What is your current motivation to continue practicing, and did the motivation changed since you had started?
- Future: How do you project on your path in the coming years? Do you progress in yoga? and in relation to this: What does it mean to progress in yoga? How can we define and measure progress?
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Thank you again for the workshop in Bogota! It was really interesting. It was a great combination of asanas and reflection. I learned a lot on both aspects.
So, I tried to reflect on the 3 questions you gave us during the workshop, and I will share my answers with you.
So my name is Fanny, I am French but live in Colombia (in Cali) for 13 years now.
1. Why did I Start?
I start 2 years ago. Before I used to run.
Actually, several times friends of mine teaching or practicing yoga invited me to practice with them and I used to resist. I had the image of people doing yoga: a little bit of ‘show off’ and that it was not for me.
And then came the pandemics…. And in Colombia, the rule was: if you want to run you have to put on a mask…. And it was impossible for me…. So, I stopped running.
After a time being in lockdown…. I felt very trapped in my house… And eventually, a friend told me that she was doing yoga with a teacher in Cali prudentially (secret practice because at that time it was forbidden)! And she is an Iyengar teacher. I was so happy to find a way to go out of my house, that I ‘jumped’ on the opportunity. And I started practicing with her. Once a week and then 3 to 4 times a week.
So I started yoga as an escape from the lockdown! As a way to go out of my house, see people, and do something with my body. But I feel that yoga came to me when I was ready to receive it and appreciate it.
2. Why do I do it now?
Now, my relationship with yoga has evolved a lot. The lockdown stopped, so I started to run again, but I kept practicing yoga.
I find yoga very important for learning humility (start something from zero, be bad at something, and start progressing), I find it good for my body (I am very tall, and not very flexible…) and my posture. But also the mental aspect, to hold postures beyond the pain, gain an understanding of my body, give it more respect, be more connected with it, evolve…
What also happened is that our Teacher in Cali left for the United States…. So it put me (and all the students) in front of our real interest to go on (with or without the teacher)… and to face self-practices. While I was practicing with her, I didn’t practice alone, at my home. I didn’t find the motivation to practice without the teacher.
Thanks to her departure, I achieved to start self-practice: I bought props, and installed ropes on the wall…. And I started to practice alone. So for me, it meant that I am not in the same place as initially when I started practicing yoga.
I also started to practice with an Iyengar teacher online. At first, I found it very difficult… to practice that way, the distance created… the digital aspect. And, it was also difficult to practice with another teacher, another approach, a different way of teaching…. The link built with the first teacher was very strong… and it was difficult to create one with another teacher (and more through virtual interaction).
Once overcome this feeling, I found it was a good thing. Not to be attached to the teacher but to the practice. To be able to practice despite the change of teacher and online ……
3. How do I measure progress?
In the beginning, the objective was to reproduce (more or less) the posture shown by the teacher and to hold the posture. Then, I measure progress when I felt my body is entering posture better or when I can hold postures for more time.
Now, I feel that I understand more and more all the subtilities of each posture, how to put the arm, each part of the feet, how to breathe… I feel progress in the sense that I understand more and more all the details that were shared by the teacher. Also, I feel sometimes that I achieve being in the present in asanas, especially in Shavasana.
I feel progress when in the street, I remember to move my sacrum in, to lift my chest, to roll my shoulders down… when yoga starts to be with me beyond the practice.
Thank you again for the workshop, and for the questions!
Hope to practice again with you.
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