It is valued in our culture to push the limits. When it comes to working out, we're of the mindset to go, go, go. Go further, try harder, do more, push yourself.
Yoga, as we know, is completely different. The teacher says to go at your own pace, feel free to lay down on the mat at any time, stay with your breath. But if we're being honest, it's tough getting out of our competitive nature. We might go to a yoga studio, lay out our mat, and suddenly begin to notice how the girl in front has a better crow pose, or the yogi to our right holds their balancing postures longer than seems humanly possible. We compare ourselves to others and we might have a hard time going inwards and becoming still.
The next thing you know, you've got an injury or illness. Maybe you pushed yourself too hard and hurt your wrist, or maybe it's just the seasonal flu. Whatever it is, I think injury/illness can be a great teacher. Here are three lessons to be learned:
1. A lesson in patience. Give yourself time to heal. Maybe you take a break from your asana practice for the duration of your inury/illness, but keep up the meditation and pranayama. Don't push yourself to get back to the asana practice faster. Just take this time to turn inward and observe.
2. A lesson in compassion. Stop being so hard on yourself and your body, and give yourself a break. Leave your expectations behind you and simply be with what is.
3. A lesson in humility. In the exercise world, egos reign. An injury/illness is a good reminder that you're only human. Let go of your ego, and find peace in wherever your body is at the moment.