We all see the pictures on the web and in yoga magazines. A tiny woman bent with her feet on her head with a radiant smile on her face. I often wonder how many takes it took to take that picture. In my challenging poses, I struggle to remember to breathe and to take my time to move into the pose.
How often do you compare yourself to the person next to you in yoga class? Or any exercise class? Are you scared to have a home yoga practice because you won’t look like the pictures or your teacher? How many times do you look at your legs, arms, belly, hips, feet, chest…and whisper bad things to your body?
We are not legos! Every one of us comes in different shapes, sizes and ages. We are not alike! It is natural and normal for each person to experience asana (poses) in a different way. Every day is different for the your body.
Your body is your greatest ally.
Every time you feel pain, it is the bodies way of saying “hey, pay attention to me!” What I reflect the most is that when we are injured or can’t do something, it is so easy to make our body the enemy. To complain about a bum knee, or stiff hips, or tender shoulders.
We all have stories about our bodies. The truth is your body is your greatest friend. It is constantly working to keep you healthy and in homeostasis. You cannot not heal yourself. Your immune system is constantly on alert. When you have a cold your body is doing its best to rid itself of it. Have a hangover, your body naturally does its best to remove toxins.
Your body is intelligent. Every inch, every piece of it. You and your body are a team.
If you can’t move like you would like to move, here a a few questions to contemplate.
1. Have you moved in a way that is perfect for you right now? How does that feel?
2. What does it mean for you to touch the floor or to do a pose ‘correctly’?
3. What does having that do for you?
We are meaning making machines. It is actually the meaning we seek by touching our toes.
The practice of yoga is about presence. Can we appreciate where we are right now in our body, mind and spirit? Whether we can touch our toes or not.
Next time you are in yoga class (or any form of exercise) and your body is reacting in a certain way… If your muscles are tight and you begin to compare yourself to others…Return to these questions.
Give some love and encouragement to that place on your body that you always criticize. You and your body are a team!