In a world where we strive for perfection from all angles, the perfect outfit, perfect hair, car, holiday, life, it’s hard to switch off from this. Since becoming utterly obsessed with yoga I’ve followed hundreds of yogis on Instagram, some famous teachers, some my own teachers or those in my community and some that come up on my feed or my searches that have a page full of photo after photo in the ideal location doing very impressive yoga poses to a very impressive level.
Now while I’m not calling this out at all, well done to these yogis who’ve achieved such amazing things with their bodies, truly praise to you, but all of that can actually a be a little bit daunting when you’re new. So what I’m calling out is this perfect world we’re striving for seeping into the yoga world. I’m still at the very beginning of my journey into exploring all the limbs of yoga, but it’s obvious that yoga should be pure and true and nobody; beginner or advanced yogi and all in between, should ever look at photos and feel, for lack of a better word, inadequate.
I’ve been practicing for two years now, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t that long at all, but I practice consistently and regularly with 100% of myself. When I look at some of my really early photos it floods back the memories of attending my first few classes or my first visits to a new studio where I’d feel nervous and self conscious, not sure where to put my mat and in awe during the whole time of these advanced yogis doing all sorts of bendy things and balances I could only dream of. I used to dread with all my being a downward dog, I just simply could not hold it for 5 breaths, which where never 5 normal breaths I swear they where more like 10! And who says it’s supposed to be a resting posture? Are you mad?
Then something magical starts to happen, you keep showing up on your mat, some practices leave you feeling like you’re flying, some you stumble and wobble and internally scream at the teacher and even after a gorgeous savasana you feel like you wish you hadn’t bothered, that’s just life! You come back the next time, and you try again and as time goes on, those bad practices become less frequent, the feelings of the energies in the room encapsulate you and you’re like a whole new you after class. I’ve built strength and stamina and love when the teacher throws a challenge in, but I’ve got a very very long way to go.
The point of my ramble is this, there’s so much aspiring and amazing content out there on social media, but there’s nowhere near enough for beginners, people who can’t touch their toes (me) or hold down dog for “5” breaths (me) who want to try headstands, handstands, back bends and the rest. And who, through consistent practice will see progression in themselves. So what I’m trying to say is, although the after of my “before and after” might not even look like your before (you with me?) it’s taken me 3/6/12 months to progress to that and I’m darn proud of it. I’ve held back for a while on sharing to the wider yogi world out there through fear of what people would think, showing that I’m still miles from the posture I’m showcasing in my latest photo or video, but the reason I’m doing this is because I want to be part of a yogi community where we share it all, exactly like I get in the studios I visit with the people I see there every day/week/month, we support each other and build each other up and I want to extend that here.
I’m striving to better my physical practice but I acknowledge this is just one tiny part of yoga, it’s the gateway to the rest in my eyes and the obvious place to start. I’ve got a long journey ahead and 10 more months of practicing and growing before my trip to Mysore to study Ashtanga, but I thought, why wait? So here I am. Not perfect, but better than I was yesterday, last week and so on. Hoping to spread the yoga love to encourage those who are teetering on the edge but letting the fear/doubt hold us back.