I’m a recovering achievement addict. I came to yoga from Vipassana Mediation over 20 years ago. For me the asanas offered new ways to pay attention. By receiving clear and distinct messages from my body, I found my attention drawn down into physical experience and away from all the mental yammering occurring between my ears. Yoga brought me into the present moment in ways I had only been able to achieve by sitting on my butt in silence for hours on end.
But as I continued in my practice, and the asanas became more familiar, my mind retook control, reminding me of all the ways my body didn’t perform as I expected or hoped. So I figured if I just pushed a little harder, I’d achieve my goals. I got more flexible but the result was more often injury than well-being.
Then when I became a teacher, my ego got really wrapped up in my expectations. After one particularly excruciating sacroiliac pull, I panicked: what if I couldn’t teach? I slowly began to realize the mental dance had taken over. I became intimate with the internal critic who was driving me on, came to make friends with him and spent a lot of time getting to know his shenanigans. Once in a while he gives me a break.