Yoga butt, yoga arms, yoga abs.
Yes it’s a “thing" but it’s not the reason most of us continue to practice yoga, even if it's what gets you on a mat in the first place. Most people start with wanting the "yoga butt,” the strong abs, the ripped arms and a pretty handstand. The rest shows up unexpectedly the more you visit your mat...
...And the more you visit your mat the less you care about your jiggly butt, the type of leggings you are wearing, or the look of your core.
What Happens When You Do Yoga
You begin to focus on trying to breathe more smoothly and from that, you start trying to not look around the room during class. Maybe you start practicing without a mirror, or without moving so fast. You begin to refrain from eating too much junk before and after class so that you can move more easily. Then eventually you realize you're having a cup of green tea at a local (independent) coffee shop, sitting in full Lotus, wearing mala beads and chatting about the 4 sutras of Patanjali and non-violence to yourself and others (ahimsa) with anyone that will listen.
Suddenly your jiggly butt doesn't matter, you're not even sure if it's there anymore without checking (go ahead check, i’ll wait). Pressing into the perfect arm balance is more about the meditative feeling you get from it and less about the tricep selfie, and your triangle pose "feels so expressive.” By embracing all of this, you are magically one step closer to YOUR ahimisa (non violence to self and others), your abs begin forming and chia starts actually tasting good (grapefruit juice- seriously try it)!
People wearing hair ties made of hemp, homemade tie-dye sports bras, and slinky leggings made of recycled plastic bottles (love those pants!) say: “yoga is about patience with your mind and body.” They are not talking about how long it takes to press slowly up into a handstand from sitting on the floor (but good job anyway- yikes!). They are talking about the ethics in yogic philosophy. They are referring to how long it takes for you to strive for complete “ahimsa,” forgetting the shape of your upper arms and the color of your mat and to just be YOU.
The Difficulty of Ahimsa And Self-Care
It's much easier to not be violent to others. Many people struggle with not beating themselves up about the tub of ice cream they devoured last night, or the extra roll around their middle. Many more people say they are slacking if they don't make it to their workout a certain amount of times per week, or come into an elaborate headstand during their 30 day Instagram challenge. And that is where yoga departs.
Yoga is not just making odd shapes on your mat out of various limbs, and it certainly isn't about the amount of Chaturanga push ups you can do. Yoga is a slow, deep inhale followed by a slow deep exhale. The postures are there to create an awareness of that smooth feeling amongst an array of wild charismatic happenings.
Yoga is wandering your eyes over a scene without judgement, it is being able to stay in bed and eat ice cream knowing that doing so doesn't make you a bad, or lazy person.
Yoga is allowing the person in a rush to go ahead of you at the grocery store.
Yoga is not wanting credit for that.
Yoga is not beating yourself up for NOT doing that yesterday!
Lastly, yoga is not caring if your butt jiggles. I'm a yoga teacher and I'm pretty sure my butt jiggles -- let me check -- yes, it does. And there is nothing wrong with that.