Ohhh Scorpion Pose. How I love you, and how I hate you.
This pose does not come easily, actually it is really really hard. Do not let the picture fool you. Sure, I have a smile on my face, but this took months and months of figuring out how to balance all my weight on my forearms with my feet straight up. Then once I felt stable enough there, I had to figure out the balance again for lowering my feet down, then work at the flexibility for my back to bend that much, all while remembering to breathe and tighten certain muscles, while relaxing other muscles. Strength and flexibility. All at the same time. Did I mention you have to breathe?!
Many people think that Yoga makes you to do all these "tricks" that feel like circus acts and its supposed to make you a stronger and better person. Seems like rubbish. Well, yes it is rubbish to believe that you will be a better person for fully achieving a certain pose. We foolishly start believing that we will have achieved greatness, that we have "won" the yogi-race once we touch your toes to our ballerina buns. Well, no....You won't be any better of a person after a difficult pose than you were before the pose. You will just be able to do the pose. Cool.
Is the motivation to do the pose come from the ego? Oooh, dig deep and really ask yourself that. Be humble enough to admit it. A lot of times that is where my motivation comes from. Any every time that is my motivation, I fail. Usually pretty miserably.
OR does your motivation come from wanting to challenge yourself, dive into the exploration of yourself, your personal growth and journey, and your true potential? Even if it means you will never achieve the crazy fad of "butt to bun" (if you follow the yoga community on instagram you know what I am talking about.)
The true Yoga lies in what the pose teaches you about YOU! Yoga poses, or Asanas, were designed thousands of years ago to be a tool to link our body, mind and soul together in union. The word "Yoga" is a Sanskrit word meaning to yoke or bring together. When our entire being is all in sync and united together, we are able to find more peace in our lives. Yogis do not get upset about not being able to perform certain asanas, but rather stay with the journey and learn from it. Yoga is a peaceful journey of inner discovery, not a forceful or aggressive way to contort your body. It doesn't matter what the end result of a pose looks like, because remember, it doesn't make you a better person anyway. It doesn't even make you that cool.
This doesn't mean that because the end result doesn't matter we should try. Instead, we keep practicing and growing the mind, body and soul exponentially. One definition of yoga I recently came across was "the understanding of the self as an expression of unlimited possibility." I just love that.
If we are in a difficult balancing pose the body says, "this is so hard I don't know if I can do it." The mind then needs to say, "yes you can do it, and we will be calm and steady together." We might stumble or fall a little bit. That's okay. Then, one asana at a time you are letting outside distractions fade away. Letting stress melt away. Dedicating your Yoga space to the present moment of what you are feeling in your body and mind. Building your physical and mental strength. Then 3 years from now the pose that was difficult is pretty easy now, and we have more difficulties ahead. And what a wonderful thing that is. Our bodies, our minds, our souls: an expression of unlimited possibility.
So, that doesn't mean that the person next to you, who is maybe in dolphin pose (a prep pose for scorpion) is less of a yogi, or human being, than you are. Hell no, you are not better than anyone else. Even if a person had a very limited physical body from age or injury they could not do yoga, it would be just as perfect as anyone else's yoga. Remember Shavasana, lying flat on your back, is yoga. Everyone is on a separate journey, in a separate body, working with separate issues than you. The key to being a better person is being constantly better than yourself.
Love and Light,