Life & Yoga Breakthroughs

Robyn at Self Actualization Shrine in Los Angeles, California

Breakthroughs through Visvamitrasana

“How often do you compare yourself to other people? When we do that we totally disrespect our own journey and how we ended up where we are in the present moment. You’ll often hear yoga instructors say, “Stay in your practice.” This means listen to your body; make choices on the mat that are for YOU because your yoga practice is unique to you and only you know what you need in the moment in your yoga practice. The ego likes to compare, compete and often promotes fear and separation. Well, even though I teach my students this, I am susceptible to this as well.

During my training, I am learning Prana Vinyasa Flow Yoga, which is a different style of yoga then I have learned in the past. But, that is why I chose to study it, so I can deepen my practice, which is constantly changing. On Day 1 we did a pose called Visvamitrasana. (See photo below) This was a pose I believed I could not physically do. The first day I watched the majority of the class practicing this pose. Later that day, I called my friend and said, “I want to start practicing this pose, but it will probably take 2-3 years before I can do it, IF I can even do it.” I was stuck in the physical and mental.

Yoga pose

Photo by David Martinez for Yoga Journal

When Day 2 rolled around, we had a public practice. I decided to focus on “staying in my practice” and not forcing anything. I would just modify the pose to a Malasana similar to a squat low to the ground while everyone else practiced Visvamitrasana. Well, what I like about Prana Flow Yoga and Shiva Rea‘s style is that you allow the breath and energetic alignments to guide you in and out of the poses like a moving, living dance.

When we got around to Visvamitrasana, I was in a zone and decided to give it a go again because I know how every time you step on the mat, you can experience a different yoga practice. The next thing you know, I was IN the Visvamitrasana pose and I entered a modified version fairly effortlessly. I couldn’t believe it! In fact, I had done it WRONG the first day! I did this because I had psyched myself out mentally thinking “Oh no, oh no, I can’t do this, I am not even CLOSE to being able to do this. Look…everyone else can do it!! (Even though I know as a yoga teacher it isn’t about how the student looks but how the pose feels! I had to believe my own teachings!! LOL!!!!) But, I had been using the wrong hand the day before actually making it harder on myself!!

Those are the moments that I live for in yoga. But, it wasn’t even about “nailing the pose”, but more so the lesson that came out of that journey to get there. The only reason I was able to do this pose yesterday was because I let go of the physical and mental limitations I put on myself. Instead, I stayed present, stayed in my practice and I was in a space to ALLOW my body’s divine intelligence and my breath to take me somewhere I had never been before.

So, the moral of the story and the message I received is to resists the urge to compare yourself to others and criticize where you are in a moment. Honor YOUR path and be open to receiving those gifts beyond your physical and mental layers. When we look at athletes and extraordinary people who are able to do these amazing things, it goes beyond the physical and metal, they know how to tap into that divine intelligence and wisdom that we all have! So, please let go of those limitations you put on yourself. You never know what you are being prepared to do and honoring your journey will take you farther than you knew you could go.

(I attached the photo below as a reference, but MY Visvamitrasana did not look as “perfect” as this woman’s (there goes my ego judging my pose…lol), but it is fine because it was still MY Visvamitrasanain that I did, which was perfect for ME in the moment! I wish I had a photo, but use the image above from Yoga Journal as a reference for now. Namaste!

Read about my yoga teacher training journey – Beginning the Prana Flow Journey

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