The fifth thing yoga taught me was to be curious — specifically about how my body moved and how it felt when it moved, but I’ve learned to extend it to other places in life.
When it comes to being curious, props are my friend. Because even if I can get into a given pose — say, half moon — without a block, I can also get into that same pose with a block. And it likely feels different each way. Only, sometimes I get attached to the idea of entering a particular pose — say, half moon — without props. Like, if I don’t need a prop, then I shouldn’t use one. That kind of internal pressure — or even just plain attachment to “this is the way I have always done it” — gets in the way of exploring how different poses feel with different props. (Say, half moon, which feels very different done with a block than it does with the back of the body against a wall.)
Yoga also teaches me to be curious when I’m encouraged to safely explore a pose that I think is too hard for me. Being encouraged to be curious, to explore, helps me start to figure out a posture without being invested in actually being able to do it. And to be honest, most of the times when I start exploring a pose, I can’t do it right away — though sometimes I surprise myself — and usually not for the first several times I play with it. Were I caught up in actually doing the pose, that number of “failures” would frustrate me, probably to the point of not trying it again — or only trying it with dread (which cannot help my focus or ability). Being curious is like giving myself permission to just try and to enjoy the trying process.