When will I touch my toes?

Often we have students (not this guy up here, he’s going to have to wait a while before starting with yoga) asking when they will become more flexible. Can I touch my toes before the end of the year? How long do I need to practise before I become perfect?

The answer to those questions is not always straightforward. It’s always a function of so many things, like how often you practise, where you started from, how much abuse your body has gone through due to lifestyle and set habits, the food you eat, and more.

I often remind myself of an episode from my Isha hatha yoga teacher training days where I had a conversation with another trainee who was ultra-flexible and capable of getting into most postures with absolute ease. She used to tell me that in spite of her prowess with the postures, she still felt inadequate and incomplete. She used to compare herself with another trainee, older and much less flexible, however a truly joyful and radiant being, and wonder what was the point of being able to do asanas perfectly if she couldn’t be like the other person.

So please always remember that once your posture improves, which it will as you keep up your sadhana, it doesn’t automatically or magically make you a better human being. Perhaps you might get a few people around you to appreciate your improvements in hand-toe proximity but existentially it means nothing.

Work on the aspects which are more subtle. The thoughts in your mind and how they translate into words and action and the impact they have on those around you. There are far greater and quicker achievements you can make in that dimension which will surprise you.

And if you think these aspects are not influenced by your asanas, then think again.

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