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Bodies: Yoga

3 min read

Warrior 2 with Backbend: Photo by Jayson Boyd

 

Bodies: They all tell a story. I can see it as you walk in. Maybe your shoulders are a little rounded, your back rigid, your gait stiff. When you breathe, I notice your chest lift. You lean on your knuckles today because twenty years ago you fell hard on your wrists when on a fishing boat. You find Down-Dog difficult; your shoulders have already been carrying your children and the weight of their needs for so long. You can't look me in the eye because you're nervous, and -for the same reason- neither can you close them. Visions of your work week, school day, past trauma or past excitement often flash before your eyes.

 

Yet you return. You learn to breathe deep, to stand tall and root your feet to the Earth. You've done something incredible, one long breath after another, and you've grown inside yourself. 

Even so, I see you comparing, competing, and judging yourself for not being 'better'. Yes, I know the feeling. Sometimes I think I should be perfect, and show a perfect example. But what is perfect? So often we have been misled to believe that perfect is untarnished, pristine, and even the creams we put on our skin are meant to help us return to that 'freshly packaged' look, like a newborn.

 

What if we reexamine that definition. As a kid, I read fairytales of Kings and Queens. Pampered and protected, their feet never touched ground, their skin never blemished, they never broke a sweat. Naive, and gullible, this seemed like a life of luxury. As an adult, I can't imagine a life more boring! The scars I've accrued are well-earned and give me character. Aching muscles are lessons to learn about balancing work with self-care. Broken bones heal stronger, and long-term injuries teach us to be gentle. Each of these 'imperfections' you carry with you into class has a story. You may judge and compare yourself to that guy doing the splits, or that girl serene in Padmasana, but imagine life without your mistakes, your adventures. Sure, you might've gotten hurt in some of these stories, but here you are again, learning to breathe, to heal, and ultimately to love yourself. Next time you step into class, don't look around; look in, and find those stories, love those stories, and you'll never need to compare to another person's body again.