If you look at a yoga class and associate it with exercise, I don’t blame you. It’s very common to wash yoga together with physical exercise, and forget to mention all the other aspects.
I used to have this expectation that if I practice yoga once a week, then I will have this lean body and I will be able to do the splits and all sorts. I didn't realise consciously that this was the underlying motivation for my practice at the time.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve this, thinking that surely, this is how other yogis do it.
I posted about certain things on Instagram, thinking this is it.
On reflection, I can see that it was not my fault, but equally it was not really the point either.
My practice started out as an extension of me trying to be someone else. To show to the world that “hey, look at me, I can do the splits”
“I hope this says something good about me”
“That I am able”
“That I am good enough”
“That I am lovable”
It took me absolutely years of practice and lots of therapy to recognise that this is not exactly the focus I want to build towards.
It results in unhelpful patterns. It doesn’t help me to focus on what’s enough and lovable about me, it keeps the focus on the outside, whereas really, I need to bring focus on the inside and be content with whatever is there.
For me, this is what yoga is. Healing.
And opportunity to pay attention to what’s inside. The door that opens that way to the inside is the body. The mind does the rest, through emotions, which are like connective tissue.
Turning away from the outside, towards the inside. And you know what’s the funny thing, that when I forced the practice, forced postures the “results” didn’t even come on the outside. I never lost weight because of yoga. I didn’t “achieve the splits”. All I did was created more stress in my body which resulted in more holding and not releasing.
When I shifted my focus on the inside, my outside started changing too. The weight didn’t matter as long as I was healthy and strong. My body was strong and I loved it for that. There are areas where there is a lot more release present now.
I started to respect my body and mind – looked after both and the balance started to come across in every areas of my life.
It’s not an easy path. It’s not necessarily popular, as it requires a lot of work, facing fears and learning to accept what is.
Opening the heart to whatever makes you, you.
I promise you, that whatever makes you, you – is the lovable part. So don’t hide it.
Open the doors with care and attention. With vulnerability and kindness.