Ok, so I’m not the perfect yogi. Having been a sprinter for years, I’m explosive. Despite my dance training, my balance isn’t always up to par. And my flexibility–yikes! On a good day, I can barely touch my toes. I’m also admittedly competitive. And when I’m not up to par, I get disappointed in myself. As is human nature, I have the tendency to bring these things to the mat. I stumble. I attempt crow pose and fall–every time. My heels will likely never touch the ground in downward facing dog. I glance in the mirror during a warrior pose and wonder why my pose does not match my fellow yogis. I struggle with breathing. My legs and arms shake during planks. My hair falls out of the braid I spent precious minutes before class weaving. I (only occasionally–I swear!) arrive late and have to rush into my practice to catch up with the flow of the class. My yoga practice looks far from a Lululemon ad.
However, does that make me less of a yogi? Isn’t the point of yoga to come as you are, and do the best you can on the mat? Yoga isn’t about picture-perfect poses, though they are nice to look at (I’m looking at you, kinoyoga and beachyogagirl on Instagram). Yoga is about the journey, about improving yourself, about the feeling you get when you enter and exit each pose. Yoga is personal. It’s about finding yourself through a series of physical poses. It does not matter whether your pose equals another; your practice is entirely your own. Yoga does not demand perfection. It only requires dedication and practice. It’s important to remain mindful of that.