Over the years I have had the luck of meeting several yoga teachers who constantly reminded me that yoga is not a race to an objective. I remember reading somewhere that “your ego is where you think you should be, your self is where you are”. It is a piece of advice that I treasure, and I always try to transmit. Of course intention has a role in a yoga practice, and of course seeing the body becoming stronger and more flexible is positive. But there is no reason to force or accelerate: all the important bits are in the journey.
It probably helped that my own body has never been hyper-flexible, hyper-light, or any other hyper-quality that made the physical part of yoga spontaneously easy to me. I had to work quite hard, and I still have to work quite hard on many aspects. It is a work I enjoy, without pressure, and I am very grateful that my own efforts allow me to understand other people’s efforts, to have compassion, and maybe to bring in my perspective on what can help.
Of course there is a difference between a less pleasurable movement and a painful movement. Within the borders of safety, there is a kind of pain that is a sign, a symptom, a symbol. That is the kind of pain that needs to be witnessed. But having a glimpse and observing the resistance is enough. Change cannot be forced, and I think blockages should be approach with tenderness, embraced rather than destroyed. A blockage can be a protection, and if we crush it, the reaction might be counter-productive.
As a yoga teacher, I am aware that I have no idea about the journey of the yoga student who is in front of me. The yoga teacher that I want to be is one that knows that she does not know. Life is huge and mysterious, and I have no presumption to have a better understanding than anyone. I am not in a position to give advice unless it is asked. And even in that case, I can only share my experience, what worked for me, my own truth, keeping in mind that there can be disagreement and it is ok: there is no universal truth anyway.