Presence versus performance in your yoga practice

Updated: Mar 22

One of the questions in the tasks for my yoga teacher training I developed in 2016 has been the question of the difference between doing and being yoga? This is the same as articulating it as presence vs performance—Yoga as a state of being rather than doing.

Presence versus performance

Performance is goal-orientated, whereas presence is being connected with yourself. If your practice is goal-orientated, you inevitably might invite feelings of frustration, sadness, defeat and even anger. Some shapes might not be possible for you to achieve. You may feel competitive. While this all may lead to feeling "superior" in some aspects (especially if you have a flexible, strong body), it is inevitable only short-term.

The benefits of our yoga practice are cultivating presence and awareness.
Chasing complex shapes does not lead to a better quality of life!

Our relationship with our own body in a yoga practice is about listening and being attentive to tension, stress, and freedom of movement. It is about learning where our edge lies, what movement patterns feel good and what might potentially be painful. It is the ability to feel your body and what goes on in your body. It means that you don't have to seek external comparison but empower yourself to go inside. It's the time when you feel to be your own authority, and you don't have to look for the worthiness of yourself outside. You realise you are enough, and you learn how to accept and love and therefore treat yourself better.

Being Yoga or being present to the actual moment of what is happening in you leads you to fine-tune and take only what you need at that given moment, which will be enough! It does not waste resources, and with feeling enough, you will feel content.

Another difference is that you learn to be aware of your whole body and treat your body as a holistic being versus focussing on opening only on your hips and how you can open them more. You recognise the inherent inter-connectiveness in your body and ultimately with the planet. This is where you learn to be responsible for your own alignment and the most appropriate next step that lies within your freedom of movement and holistic wellbeing.

To assist your students in finding "their edge", "neutrality", and "the least stressful position" is invaluable and will empower them to decide for themselves if they want to go deeper or back off when practising different shapes in Yoga.

I always believed in only delivering the tools to my students and never considered myself as the authority. Students learn to take responsibility for their actions and are empowered to take control.

If you want to take part in my next yoga teacher training, please send me an email. In the meantime, you can find out more here. I offer every Wednesday Zoom online classes at 6 pm, and the first outdoor class is foreseen for 3 April 2021 at 10:00 close to King Alfred. Please let me know in advance if you are coming.

"I hope to free my followers from styles, patterns, and moulds" - Bruce Lee.


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