I am fascinated by the human body – the physiology behind every process, movement and thought, and of course the physical form in motion.
Yoga is arguably one of the best ways that we can show off the physical ability of the human body, and there are plenty of people willing to demonstrate for us: cue the yoga selfie.
Social media channels such as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and even Twitter are filled with images of people in fabulous yoga poses – Instagram alone has over 3 million posts filed with #yoga. I follow a number of these yogis and I am in awe. But sometimes I am also a bit intimidated. I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for well over 5 years now and I am nowhere near being able to perform a lot of the poses I see displayed. Nor do I look like the women in these images – typically young and very slim – not a muffin top spilling over their patterned leggings in sight. Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful and clearly dedicated in their practice so credit where credit is due; but I just don’t think that’s what many of us look like or how many of us practice, and that’s where the intimidation comes in.
Please believe me, you don’t have to be able to do these asanas or look this way, or any ‘way’ to be doing yoga. This is probably the most important message I can impart to you.
To me yoga is a journey, (yeah, that word gets brandished around a lot, try not to give me an eye roll). A journey where I’m not striving for an end goal, in fact, it’s one with no definable end in sight; yet I can see the progress I have made and most importantly, I can sit and enjoy the current moment. Ok, I still can’t do dropbacks and my handstands are still a work in progress, but two years ago I couldn’t get into wheel (full bridge) and I hadn’t done a handstand since I was a kid. With dedication and a little self-love I’m confident my practice will evolve, it might even include handstands soon, of course, it might not. Regardless, the point of yoga is to open our physical and spiritual selves to greater things, not to get caught up in how we look in each pose – that’s performing, not practicing.
My journey has now expanded to include teaching other people yoga and guess what – they don’t all look like the people on Instagram either. They are all amazing and watching their progress and hearing how yoga has impacted their lives is a true privilege.
So the next time you come across one of these many “inspiring” yoga images, appreciate the beauty, but don’t forget the true meaning of yoga what yoga signifies for you personally.