Does yoga need to adapt to the person?
Or is it the person who needs to adapt to yoga?
This doubt used to trouble me a lot when I started practicing.
I really liked my first teacher, Elena. She made me discover Ashtanga, was very dedicated to yoga and gave me some discipline, of which until that point I had completely lacked of.
One thing she used to repeat, was precisely that it’s the person that needs to adapt to yoga, and not expect yoga to bend to your selfish needs.
Roughly at the same time though, I had also started reading a lot about yoga, and I was surprised to find that many great teachers were claiming the exact opposite!
So which was right!
With time, I managed to conciliate these mutually exclusive views into something that makes sense to me, including both:
The goal of yoga is balance. The concept of balance manifests in different forms at different levels, but the most important is inner balance, so to speak.
Now this goal is something that the person needs to pursue, she cannot expect to make of yoga something other than that, even if the goal of balance may involve hard or painful choices and experiences.
On the other hand, by its very nature, balance is not something that can be forced upon someone, or can be acquired through a universal method.
Each of us stands at a different place of a different path, and one person’s balance cannot be acquired by copycatting someone else’s feats.
The sheer beauty of all this, is that balance is a goal that can be pursued by anyone. You don’t need to be young and athletic, smart or educated.
The bad news is that it’s all up to you, with no exceptions and no excuses!