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"No pain no gain," I heard this phrase for the first time when I went to mysore, India, in a conference that master Sharath Jois gave. It was a phrase that cause conflict in what was my idea of what yoga is. The system of Ashtanga specially asanas, which is a mentally and physically challenging, it is a rigorous practice, which was a difficult test, a very difficult one.
Strangely, your ego has a huge part in the moment that you practice and conquer a pose. To accept the fact that your body isn’t ready has it’s joke! The phrase, for me, caused inner conflict!. When I was a gymnast and a ballerina the mentality was like that……You hurt your ankle?… you have to handle it! You have a blister?…keep working!..You can´t stop! When you practice yoga, none of that happens, in yoga, there are no medals or recognitions, or someone that will take away your important role, not even that you need to be better than someone else, then why endure all that pain? That is not anymore my life style! I didn’t go back to ballet because I had injured my knee after having surgery on it, I could have just dealt with the pain and slowly started shredding my knee, but I did plan on walking around when I’m 60!
Practicing yoga under that doesn’t mean “deal with the pain and you’ll get to the top.” The “pain” doesn’t mean actual pain, it’s not the same to feel pain and feel your muscles and joints working are two completely different things.
Whenever you practice yoga there are two ways of doing it, the easy way or the hard way. The easy way, is usually being ” misaligned” and not feel uncomfortable and not feel that your body is working hard and advancing in strength or that you’re stretching yourself.
"No pain, no gain" is not actual pain, it’s simply not over doing your body. It’s listening to your body, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses.
"No pain no gain," is not actual pain its simply not being in your comfort zone, and feeling your body working hard during the practice.
Your practice is your life’s analogy of life, looking for that extra work, without allowing your ego to get in the way. Don’t get comfortable, or be in your own comfort zone, with that extra push though, don’t use it as an excuse to over do it. Feel your body, observe it, and learn how to enjoy this road called life. Enjoy your practice, balance it, and you will see big changes in your practice, and also your life.