In addition to this blog, I am also on twitter, facebook, instagram and youtube. I love that social media is able to connect likeminded people from all over the world. I am always happy when people comment on posts or ask questions, but there is one question that frustrates me.
A variation of: How long did it take you to do this? / How long will it take me to do this?
Why it's frustrating
It is impossible for me to answer either question in a simple way because there are far too many factors to consider. For example, I've been doing backbends since I was a kid. I started gymnastics and dance when I was four, and I have always been really active at the gym and in yoga studios. So if you ask me how long it took me to do a backbend, I wouldn't even know what to say because saying, "Since I was a kid" sends the message that it'll take you years.
Similarly, if I'm asked how long it will take you to learn a pose, there are too many things to consider for me to give a good answer. I have no idea what your background with yoga is. I don't know how often you will practice, nor what types of poses you will practice to get yourself to the final posture. I don't know your prior injuries, nor the structure of your bones (some people simply will never be able to do certain poses in their fullest expression due to bone compression or range of motion in the shoulder/hip/knee/whatever joints). So I can't say whether it'll be a month or two years before you find yourself in full camel pose.
Most importantly, asking how long is putting the focus on the final posture, which is not the aim of yoga. Sure, you might want to be able to do a handstand, but the work you put in is what's most rewarding, and that work, that journey to get there is the point. However long it took me or anyone else doesn't matter because it holds no weight to your own personal practice.
A better question to ask is:
"What poses should I do to prepare myself for _______________?" Or, "I'm having trouble with ________________, do you have any tips?"
Have faith in yourself. The mind will give up a thousand times before the body will, and you are braver than you believe and stronger than you think. Try not to worry about how long anyone's been doing anything. That has no bearing on your ability to be great.