"Am I doing it right?"
This is the most common question beginners ask in yoga, and really in any new activity. I find this to be such a complex question to ponder, and if we venture to delve a little deeper into the inquiry, we will find that the answer isn't so clear.
The tricky part about yoga, and about life in general, is that there isn't always just one way to do anything - whether it's a triangle pose or building a cathedral. A creative life is not always so black and white. Our dualistic, rational mind would love for everything to be so simple. With beginners, this is generally the main concern - right and wrong, black and white. When we advance in our understanding, we have to gain higher levels of consciousness to access a transrational mind that can think critically and decipher which way to move in the moment.
Being a yogi means letting go of either/or thinking and attaining both/and thought processes. The question of straightening your legs in a fold isn't really about that - the real question is, what happens when you straighten, and what happens when you bend? The linear, logical mind wants it to be about straightening or not straightening, yet the creative mind bends around obstacles, moving fluidly through thought forms. "I can do both, and I get to decide what to do when," says the creative, transrational brain.
The real question I encourage all of my students to ask is, "what happens when I do what I always do, and what happens if I do something different?" When we start to check in moment to moment, we learn that there is never one concrete answer to all of life's dilemmas. In one moment we need to be strong and set good boundaries, and in another situation we are safe to be vulnerable and open up. The really tricky part is that, what's divine for me might be hell for the next person. It's only through personal inquiry that we learn the difference.