Do you ever feel unworthy? Do you ever describe yourself as a poser or a fake? Well if you have then you and I have something in common. At this point the feeling of stepping into a new situation with a “fake it till you make it” attitude is kind of like a warm cozy blanket for me. Perhaps it’s my musician training but I do really have the uncanny ability to stuff rampant misgivings and insecurities out of sight and mind until I reach a state of familiarity and comfort, or until the situation has passed.
The reason I bring this up is because I met and chatted with lots of new yogis last month. Many of them, even yogis with very lovely practices indicated some level of insecurity to me. So many really doubted their right to be in a class or even own a yoga mat! I thought you might like to know that lots of people feel pretty goofy about their yoga practice. It must be all of the yoga marketing that shows impossibly fit young people doing things with their limbs that make us tilt our heads to the side. We think “Now this is yoga” or “I’ll never get into this pose, therefore I am not really doing yoga”. Um, as impressive as those poses are, they have little to do with yoga. Sure, I’d like to do the splits comfortably someday, and I work on my handstand everyday; I’m kind of in love with this movement and the way it makes me feel. It’s okay with me though if it takes a lifetime to accomplish these and other poses. It’s the journey, not the destination (I know so cliche). Maybe that’s why we call it “practice”.
I showed a picture of a really impressive yogi, Simon Park to my husband recently. He, Simon, was doing one of those poses that you have to try to look at from several angles to figure out. I asked my husband, a devoted yogi in his own right, why on earth anyone would need to do such a thing to their body, it didn’t look like a healthy position to be in. He shrugged and said “It helps him pray”. I had to laugh. We take ourselves so darn seriously. I mean, is this is spiritual practice or a physical practice? Can it be both? Can these components be seperate? Are they equal? With more important questions on the table, why do we allow ourselves to be so deferential to the perceived skill and or worthiness of others? My journey will never ever take me to that particular pose, but does that make me any less satisfied with my practice? Goodness no.
Yoga at it’s core is about being present. Not just in every moment but in every breath. I for one find this impossible during my everyday activities but am conditioned to enter the vortex of presence each time I step on my beloved yoga mat. When we dwell in the present for even the short time we practice yoga we can become less deferential and more confident. If you step on your mat with the intention of staying mindful and present you have no choice but to embody your practice and to become that skilled yogi that you are in the current breath cycle. You can’t fake what you are, which is perfect and awesomeley skilled in a moment devoid of remembering or anticipating, just existing. This my dear yogis is advanced yoga practice. To fully own your experience in the moment you live it. This is my personal intention for November, and I endeavor to own my experience off the mat too. Join me yogis. Namaste