“It’s not the size of the load that breaks your back; it’s how you carry it.” – Lou Holtz
You rule your world. From your career to your matching top-of-the-line yoga outfits, there is a right and a wrong way to get everything done. And yoga poses? Pssh, you’ve got that, you gravitate toward styles that emphasize physical alignment because you can rock out every pose with perfect “form.”
All the other shiz, like pranayama (breath techniques), meditation, or spiritual transformation are cool for everyone else, but you aren’t woo-woo weird, so you skip that whole chanting thing they do at the end of class.
This sound like you?
The Illusion of What Yoga "Should" Be
I get it, I’ve been there. I’m a recovering perfectionist. In fact, I refused to do “Slow Beginner Flows” and ONLY did Ashtanga and Vinyasa flows because they are alignment-based, made me drip in sweat, and therefore, I felt like I was doing “real yoga.”
In trying to do everything right all the time, exhaustion and anxiety are sure to follow. I see yogis coming to class every evening working so hard to carry the burden of what they “should be.”
The visible tension is a physical manifestation of the inner critic – the judge. You will hear me say in almost every class that there is not a panel of judges along one wall judging their asanas and giving them scores.
The Only Judge In The Room Is The One You Bring With You
Silence the inner judgmental critic by becoming aware of how you are talking to yourself. Then, replace those thoughts with gratitude to your body for being able to do simple, yet miraculous functions, like breathing, talking, and walking.
You can move past how you should be doing the postures and asking “am I doing this right” by simply doing what feels good to you in any given pose. Listen for the cues of the basic shape of the pose and then breathe into what feels good for your body.
The flexibility and strength will come with consistent practice, trust me. I got there, and it took me 10 years (5 years of which involved heavy partying and destroying my body!). If I can do it, you can do it.
Moving In The Way That Your Body Pleases Is So Healing
Once you silence the inner critic, feel the energetics of an asana, and sit with your true self in meditation, something magical happens. The way you should look, act, be, and do melts away and true freedom on a soul level is experienced. You can begin to allow yourself to feel acceptance of who you are in your skin and have that be enough.
No more striving, no more needing outside of yourself. It’s just you. Now, THAT is “real yoga.”