What I enjoy most about @yoginicolas teaching style is that he always meets you where you are with compassion and kindness. Nic is a dedicated Ashtangi - teacher and practitioner. Ashtanga Vinyasa is the OG yoga asanas; a set series of postures to open and strengthen the body. What makes Ashtanga different (there are many reasons - this needs to be its own post lol) is the culture of showing up everyday to practice. Six times a week ideally; completing the same asanas in the same order. You can only move on to the next posture in the series with approval of your teacher. Your body begins to change with patience, practice, and presence.
One of Nic’s mantras is “Don’t force the lotus”, reminding his students to not push or force beyond their limit. Unsurprisingly, you will find him saying this when students are attempting Padmasana (lotus pose) which requires great flexibility and strength in your hips, ankles, knees - basically everything from your midsection down. Because of this intense pose, we cannot force our body to open, to get stronger, or push way beyond our limit. It doesn’t serve you - mentally, emotionally, or physically - to force yourself in any posture, or any situation in your life. Yes, show up for yourself for today and give it all you got, while still honoring where you are knowing that today’s limit is different then the day before and will be different tomorrow.
Pushing far beyond your limit is not being present; it’s getting in your head and you are battling your ego. The only way to obtain victory over the ego is breathing deep and connecting with the frequency of the now. The present moment destroys the past and the future, as we move towards being the observer, not the participant, of our thoughts. It’s not thinking “will I ever get this pose”, it’s being “this is where I am now” and treating yourself with compassion and kindness.
The lotus is known as the flower of rebirth. Every day, it submerges back in the murky water where it began only to bloom again the next day, unimpacted by its environment. This spiritual flower reminds us of birth, death and resurrection. It symbolizes revival and resilience; and is significant in Hindu, Buddhism, and Egyptian cultures.
We are in a constant state of motion and change. In every moment, everything around us is transforming to something new. Like the lotus, every night we go to sleep only to arise again and awaken to a new day. You wouldn’t pry a flower open just to see it bloom; it needs to happen on its own. Same as with our bodies and all the situations in our lives: what is meant to be will happen with patience, practice, and presence.