As I travel the path of yoga to a certification through Yoga Alliance, I am spending much time in practice and in study. The same was true as I rose through the ranks of Taekwondo to eventually obtain my blackbelt.
I remember my Taekwondo teacher explaining the way that we learn. He said that we learn in great leaps and bounds as we begin. It is true. When I first started I had no idea how to make a proper fist or front stance. I did not even know how to properly tie my belt. In the first year, I learned so much that my passion and motivation were ignited by the sheer volume of learning! Every time I went to class, I learned something new. (We as human beings love to learn something new! We want new all of the time.)
As time went by, however, my learning curve began to level off, just as my teacher explained that it would. At this point, boredom replaced newness. Instead of learning something new in every class, I practiced perfecting my techniques. I practiced at home; I practiced at work; I practiced at class and rarely did I learn anything new. New lessons came slowly, with great struggle, and mostly within my own body as a series of “Aha!” moments.
Those moments were subtle and yet, powerful. The “Aha!” moments completely revolutionized my practice as I learned the principles of the training rather than the movements alone. Instead of learning how to throw a front kick with my leg, I learned how to use my whole body to greatly increase the power of the kick.
And so as I move through the practices of yoga, learning the fine details that make up the essence of the art, I once again come back to my Taekwondo teacher and his teachings. If I let myself enter into the barrenness of the practice without also being aware of the subtle, “Aha!” moments in between, I may become bored and give up. But if I instead, focus on the principles that bring my body into oneness with the art, the struggle becomes worthwhile. My struggle to move into a higher way of connecting with the art becomes intermeshed with my being in a way that gives me the confidence to say, “Yoga isn’t just something that I practice, it’s something that I am.”
Pilsung and Have a Terrific Day!