REPEAT AFTER ME: THE ASANA PRACTICE IS A PRACTICE IN IMPERFECTION. IT IS NOT A PRACTICE IN PERFECTION. THE ASANA PRACTICE IS A PRACTICE IN IMPERFECTION. IT IS NOT A PRACTICE IN PERFECTION.
The asana practice doesn’t care what tights you show up in or how tight your hips are. The asana practice doesn’t care if you’re in handstand or downward dog. The asana practice doesn’t care if you show up with messy hair and sandy feet. The asana practice doesn’t care if you got a promotion or baked the best organic nut-free sugar-free gluten free muffins for your bilingual tech-free toddler.
The asana practice is interested in where you’re at and how you FEEL.
The physical practice is only useful in embracing and exploring and feeling your imperfections. It is not a place where you beat yourself up for whatever your body is capable of doing. It is not a place where you resist your age, circumstance, injuries, limitations or abilities. It is not a place where you deepen your hatred for yourself and others- comparing your post-three-kid body to the eighteen year old dancer at the front of the room. It is not a place where you deepen your patterns and resistance to WHAT IS.
It is a place – maybe the only place – that is a safe haven to explore who you really are at this very moment in time. To notice where you’re still holding back, resisting, pushing too far or hard, and running to when the going gets tough.
It’s a place to say “Ah, my precious one. There you are. I see you. I feel you. That’s where you are at today. Ok. Cool. Can you let it be? Can you accept WHAT IS? I love you. If you are on this mat- You are strong. You are powerful. You are healthy.”
It’s a place to wonder at the miracle that you are well enough to practice in this way – when there’s sooooo many people who aren’t.
So – be inspired by the incredible things bodies are capable of doing. Look at that yogi doing headstand on the edge of a cliff in Peru and think, “Wow, how incredible that in this glorious life such magic is possible – it’s not for me today. Maybe one day. Maybe not. But it’s inspiring to see it is possible!”
But...enough with the beating yourself up. Seriously. Drop it. Use the mat to refuel, to fill your cup, to feel. Because anything else, quite frankly, just isn’t yoga. It’s a waste of your very, very precious time.