My yoga practice began before the inception of instagram. In the earlier days, the only yoga photos I saw were either online or in books and magazines. In those days, the photographed yogis’ impeccable alignment and advanced practices did not impact my judgment of my yoga practice. Naively, I believed that level of flexibility and control was only available to those captured individuals and the select few yogis at my local studios.
I understand my flexibility and ability to invert surpasses the “average” human’s capabilities, but I became very sensitive about my practice with the explosion of yoga on social media. Holy shit; there were a lot more uber bendy, crazy inverting practitioners than I had initially thought. Having completed yoga teacher training, I understood every body was different and those differences produced a wide range of expressions when it came to yoga poses. In theory, I comprehended the limitations of my physical anatomy; however, comparing myself to those photos, I had a hard time accepting.
Similar to everything in life, there are natural born yogis; people with bodies’ designed to bend and invert. Nevertheless, many of the beautiful bodies behind the most famous yoga insta accounts are dancers and gymnasts; women and men who dedicated years to developing their advanced abilities. Meeting and getting to know many of these individuals made me feel like a fool. Not only were their bodies incredibly lovely, their souls are, too.
Yoga is one of those things that kind of sneaks up on you, I am not sure what shifted, but at some point in time I let my resent go. Today, I appreciate and admire those accounts without letting them hurt my ego. I am proud of my practice and my mind is constantly blown by the way it unfolds. It’s not how it looks, it how it feels and as long as I am stretching and getting my head below my heart, I am receiving the same benefits as the yogis pictured in the gorgeous instagram accounts.
Through accepting my own body, my teaching has shifted, I am better able to support the limitations of my students. Off the mat, I’ve learned three things: 1) comparison is the thief of joy 2) continuous practice is key 3) it’s never too late to start something.