This is a difficult question to answer. Yoga is internal, personal, and not to be compared to the practice of the person next to you. While in India, I was always looking around at the other students. Geeta Iyengar told me to keep my eyes on my own mat. She asked (in a way only Geeta can ask), “How can you be aware of what’s going on in your own body if you are busy looking around the room at the other students?” We have to learn to be attentive to our own practice, notice the imbalances and limitations in our own body and approach our practice like a puzzle. With an internal practice our body will begin to fit together all of the pieces that didn’t quite fit right in the beginning.
We have to take control of our practice and know there are some things our bodies aren’t ready for yet. I attend a teacher’s class taught by my primary teacher Zoe Stewart. She told us to come into Sirsasana and bring our legs into Padmasana. Padmasana is a difficult pose for me just sitting on the floor and Sirsasana is difficult for me all by itself without adding something else to it. So I went into Sirsasana, stayed, enjoyed, came down. I then sat on the floor and practiced Padmasana preparation poses. My teacher asked why I wasn’t practicing the pose in Sirsasana. I told her it was a ‘pose for tomorrow’, for today I will practice this way.
Sometimes the most advanced yogis are the ones with the least impressive poses. They focus on where they stand on the path without looking ahead. Sometimes, the most wonderful place is the one you are standing in right now. That’s not an easy thing to teach, it’s personal, it comes with practice, with disappointment, with a practice waxing, waning then waxing again. It comes with that one fleeting moment of Samadhi. It comes without judgement or caring how a pose looks, only how it feels on the inside.
In your next class, move into each pose, then close your eyes, how does it feel on the inside? That’s important. That is where you will find the desire, the joy, and the determination to practice.