After years of trying to hide my imperfections, they’re now an important part of my life. It’s taken a while to get here. Thanks, yoga, for leading the way.
Yoga is a practice of individuality and imperfection. It’s a practice of exploration and observation. As yogis, we’re encouraged to be whatever and however we are in each and every moment of our practice. That’s lovely in theory but if you’re anything like me, it’s tough to live it. I mean, seriously, you’re telling me nobody will care if I fall out of Crow/Balasana? They won’t mind if my Dancer’s Pose/Natarajasana doesn’t balance? Hmmm.
I remember stepping onto my mat for the very first time. I was self-conscious, worried that people would laugh because I didn’t know the postures. The teacher stood at the front of the room, guiding us through twists and turns and bends. I watched her and became more and more anxious. I was convinced everyone else in the room had this thing down. They flowed with ease and grace. I watched myself in the mirror – clumsy and awkward, wobbling, and always about two moves behind everyone else. I went home feeling something I’d never felt before – a combination of defeat mixed with enough intrigue to get me to go back for a second class. And a third. And a whole bunch since.
Depending on the day, I can still be pretty wobbly. My Crow doesn’t always want to fly. My Dancer would rather watch Netflix. Rather than beating myself up about it, I’m more able to take the advice of many of my teachers. I observe. I just notice what’s happening and how I’m responding. And, darn it, my teachers are correct that my response on my mat mirrors how I respond to wobbling in my everyday life.
I’m not meaning to say that I’m perfect in accepting my imperfection. I don’t like to fail. I have a proficient and creative vocabulary of critical self talk. The difference between the Now Me and the Few Years Ago Me is that I’m aware of what’s happening. I can choose to bring myself back to center with forgiveness and grace. I can even choose to stay in the negative self talk for a while. Yeah. I do that sometimes. It’s a choice.
I encourage you to practice embracing your imperfections. Take the pressure off yourself. Next time you’re on your mat, when you wobble, notice how you’re reacting. And then notice how you can Breathe and focus to change your reaction.
Today’s intention: I will allow myself to be imperfect in just one thing today without judgment or criticism. Just one.