If you wish to know how you are doing in your practice - look at your reactions - look at your life. Unless we connect 'off' the mat, bringing our practice into daily life, then any insights and breakthroughs will be of no great value. You may be great at practising yoga on the mat, or sitting quietly in a room - But how are you at practising it in your relationships - with your mother, your son, your neighbour, your boss? As you will your body on the yoga mat to let go of tension and stress, do you remember to do the same with resentment and irritations in daily life? The next time you tell someone that you are sorry, even for bumping into them on the street - really feel it, do you mean it?
By answering questions like this - you will find out how you are doing in your practice. You may feel that you are not doing so well once you take a look at your yoga in your life - but this points out the areas that need practice. Just as it takes time to perfect a forward bend, bit by bit the spine becomes flexible and free, the same will happen with daily practice applied in other areas of your life. To be aware of what needs work is no bad thing.
The most powerful transformations are ones established over time, ones which have deeps roots. At times you will feel like you are getting nowhere, and then something will happen and your 'new' reaction will show you how far you have come. You will begin to have clarity in what once were confusing situations, and by really knowing who you are you will make decisions with detachment as well as love and compassion. When a fear arises, try not to stamp it out or ignore it, welcome it, acknowledge it. Just as in a yoga posture - find the edge and work with it - in time you find that the edge is not actually the place to be avoided but it is indeed your path - to be followed. By knowing this is the path you will come to realise that it is a journey and not a destination and small steps is the only way it can be travelled if you want to absorb all life has to offer.
Run too fast and you may fall and hurt yourself, you will miss the beauty around you and the opportunity to engage fully with others.
'Yoga is a journey, not a destination' - there will always be somewhere to go. The next time you wish to measure your progress, take a look at your life as a whole - the emotions that arise in daily situations and the fears which arise in decision making, as well as during yoga postures.
.Lorna Littlewing is the Webmaster of http://www.yogabhoga.
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