We're back with Yoga Sunday! Woohoo! Do you ever look at Instagram accounts of popular yoga teachers and think that they all kinda look SUPER INTIMIDATING in the same way? Social media and our narcissistic culture has certainly given yoga a new image, and that image is most often of a person I've recently heard called "YOGA BARBIE."
Instagram posts featuring scantily-clad women with perfectly thin, toned bodies, or buff, half-naked men with ripply muscles, posing effortlessly in crazy inversions and backbends get me and the general population of yogis thinking, "Wow, I wish I looked like that, I wish I could do that pose, I really suck at yoga."
For a long time, I thought I couldn't do my teacher training until I could do ALL the advanced asana perfectly. Eventually, I changed my mind about that and I'm so glad I did!
The point I hope you're gathering from this post, and our past series on the 8 Limbs of Yoga, is that the true path of yoga is not about doing handstands or crazy arm balances or having the most impressive-looking IG account! (FYI, I've been practicing for YEARS, and I just recently started being able to kick up into a handstand using the wall. And I'm a teacher.)
Remember our post about yoga asana (the physical practice), in which we let you know that the main purpose of asana practice is to loosen up and prepare the body for seated meditation? Yeah, that's really true! We can certainly embrace the added fitness benefits of asana, but always remember that everyone's body is different and "Comparison is the thief of joy!" (I can't remember who said this, but it's one of my favorite quotes.)
The other day after a challenging asana class I was chatting with another yogini. She mentioned that Forearm Balance was pretty easy in her body but she was still struggling with Crow Pose. I was shocked because in MY body Crow has been happening for years but I still cannot come anywhere close to that gosh-darned Forearm Balance! Everyone's body is different and truly beautiful by nature. I'll say it one more time: Yoga is not about inversions, looking like a Barbie, or impressing your friends on Instagram! Your yoga practice should help you feel more comfortable with your body and loving towards yourself and others.