This is what a mutual peer and someone I considered a respected friend and colleague, told me a while back while having a conversation on none other than, asana practice. Often, talk has a way of going in that direction for whatever reason. When I heard the remark it took me a back. I was not only surprised but perplexed by the comment because it wasn't used in jest. Perplexed because if I misunderstood came off as if prior years of practice was all so easy. Funny how the act of consistent practice and discipline is never taken into consideration. However, I didn't spend too much time being offended by the comment because to say something like that is one lazy, and reflects more on the shortsighted view point of the one who said it.
So it got me thinking how easy it is to judge another, gravitating toward that something must have made it easier for someone to get where they are. There must be some excuse. It could be in regards to anything. Especially in a community where everyone likes to state their opinions about everything and everyone. It is then easy to miss all that happens in between. Often it is in the human condition that we don't even want to know the truth. We would rather rely on our own shortsighted judgements of someone else using the stories we make up in our heads as actual fact instead of learning a thing or two from the person we judge. In the end we miss a valuable opportunity to learn something.
It happens to the best of us when making snap judgements. This is where the mind likes to take us on any given day and like I said before and what I am realizing now is judgement comes out of laziness and the avoidance of truth. From truth comes responsibility, from truth we have to open rather than close. What we thought we knew may not be and for some a scary place because yes it takes more time to sit down with someone and really get to know them beyond the vision of our own lens. Then our stories don't carry much weight anymore. Wow, what freedom if only willing to step into understanding instead of fault finding!
Beyond judgement it also has me thinking what a disservice it does to comment on someone's practice in that regard or even their physical makeup. I've had a number of students with natural flexibility and in my eyes I'm like, so what. Whether flexible or hyper stable there is a sadhana (spiritual practice) being done and as a teacher I support one's sadhana. The result relies solely on the individual far beyond the performance of asana. It's not necessarily about mastering something external but about exploring each moment in each asana through conscious breath. The beauty viewed in practice stems from an internal alignment. The funny thing is some of my most sincere and humble students may have a few areas of natural ability but that in turn doesn't stop them from desiring to go ever deeper into the essence and truth of what this yoga tradition offers. One can never get the full story from the outside.
I think on another level it saddens me when we reduce things down on a level that in truth doesn't do much good for the one commenting or the one receiving the comment. If we understand that yoga practice leads to self-realization and the actualization of our true potential there isn't much to debate on what one does on the outside. It reminds me of what one student asked during a workshop I taught recently in regards to what I thought of her practice. I simply told her, "You're practicing consistently, I'm already impressed. Many stop long before where you are now. Just keep going. Keep exploring. This is what matters."