What I Leave Behind

On the last day of the retreat, at the end of the last class, we were all asked to share what we were going to leave behind and what we were going to take away. We sat in a circle, passed a microphone around, and shared. Everyone did this including Rajashree and Emmy.

I knew what I wanted to leave behind: judgment. I had figured this out early on. I spend way to much time judging my postures not just day by day but set by set. If I have a good first set, then I expect second set to at least be the same but hopefully better. If I have an awesome standing head to knee on Monday, then it better be just as good if not better on Tuesday. If I have a crappy head to knee on Monday, it better be less crappy on Tuesday.

Of course, the problem with this is that I am never in the moment with my postures. I am always passing judgment on whatever current state they are in and then thinking through what had better look like the next time around. I’m either ahead of or behind myself but never flowing with myself. The posture is what it is, and I need to start accepting it for what it is at the given moment.

Mary said it so well in the first class of the retreat. To paraphrase, she asked us why we were always in such a hurry to get out of a posture or in such a hurry to get out of class. Her statement resonated with me throughout the rest of the retreat and even when I returned home. I am always in a hurry to get out of certain postures (balancing stick and triangle come immediately to mind). I am sometimes in a hurry to get out class – particularly when I have a lot going on in my personal life that I want to get back to.

But really, why the thoughts of rushing? Where am I going? What does it matter what my postures look like so long as I’m there and doing them?

So I am working on leaving behind self-judgment, particularly as it relates to my postures. I’ve been working on it since I returned, and in a few days I’ll share how that’s going.

Next time, I’ll talk to you about what I chose to take with me.

In the meantime, if you could leave something behind, what would you leave? What doesn’t serve you that you need to let go of?


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ficklefancyfree
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 07:36:37

    Hi Leigh. This post resonated with me, I’ve only been practicing for just over a year, but I try to go between 3 to 5 times a week. On the occasions when I’ve missed classes I get a bit apprehensive about going back because I know I’m gonna suck. I judge myself too harshly, I worry about what the teachers will feel about my posture that day. It’s like I’m afraid of disappointing anyone and everyone. I think I will try and work on this, be in the moment, my practice is mine and mine alone.

    Thanks, Phi


    • leighahall
      Aug 10, 2013 @ 09:09:32

      I’ve been practicing for 3 1/2 years. If I go more than a week without practicing – which happens now and then due to my travel schedule – it is generally hard for me when I go back. Class itself is usually ok, but I can be sore for days! That makes the next few classes hard. But it’s ok. The important thing is to just go to class. Everyone is always happy when you show up. Any class is better than no class.


  2. naia
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 17:33:51

    i love it that you wrote this today. it’s exactly what i needed to read and exactly what i need to work on. i spend way too much time and energy wanting to do and be the yogi that i’m not and this is keeping me from really enjoying just being me. class is so beautiful when i just allow myself to really be there tight hips, hamstrings and all.
    brightest blessings


  3. Linda
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 21:04:53

    Such a GREAT post! First of all I love the idea of taking something with you and leaving something behind. This week I attended the Cape Cod Writers Center Annual Conference. (I write and illustrate picture books) and I’m going to think about this concept and apply it to my writing conference just like you applied it to your retreat. I will blog my answer, and cite your blog as giving me the springboard. In Bikram I, too, am guilty of always wanting to get the pose over with and get the through the class. I’ve been away from Bikram for three weeks due to travel and conference. I’m going back Monday. I will adopt this as my goal to work on and blog how it’s going. Thanks for the clarity and inspiration!!!


    • leighahall
      Aug 10, 2013 @ 09:27:00

      Thanks Linda! You just made me realize I could use this activity with the students I work with at UNC. Definitely send me your blog link so I can see what you’re up to.


  4. Trackback: What I Took With Me | My Bikram Yoga Life
  5. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Aug 25, 2014 @ 04:27:11

    What I Leave Behind http://t.co/xw3fYUGdZS #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


  6. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Jan 14, 2015 @ 17:10:02

    What I Leave Behind http://t.co/EUuH9Ghpy7 #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


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