Let's be real. Nobody's yoga looks like a Briohny Smyth video all the time. For some, more practiced yogis, it may look like that some of the time. And for other, newer yogis it may never look like that. And that's okay.
My point may seem obvious to you, but I still think it's worth discussing.
Yoga doesn't always look the way it appears on Instagram. In fact, it often doesn't.
Yoga is not all or nothing. You don't need to be able to put your hands flat on the ground in forward fold or slide right into the splits to be a yogi. Just come as you are to the mat. That's the beauty of yoga. It's not designed to be a competition or comparison thing.
Maybe I shouldn't say that it's "not pretty," but rather we should redefine pretty. There is so much beauty in imperfection. There is beauty in honesty. There is beauty in vulnerability. I think those things are more beautiful, in fact, than polished perfection.
Just to open up a bit about myself -- I am probably one of the least flexible yoga teachers in all of the land. I am substantially more flexible than I was at 19, but I'm still not super bendy, especially when it comes to center splits and straddle wide. (See the above and below photos).
Yup that's as far as I can go. And typically, I would never post something like this on social media because it doesn't make me look like a champion. It makes me look like a noob. And it feels kind of embarrassing to be so bad at center split as a yoga teacher. I tend to skip this pose because it is so hard for me (which leads to me not improving, but that's a whole different topic).
Typically, I like to share photos that showcase things I'm good at -- like some specific arm balances or holding a scorpion pose or dancer pose. But that's not the whole story.
Here's another example. I would totally feel cool posting the photo on the left, conveniently leaving out the fact that I used the wall to get up into the post (as seen in the right photo). Oh and the fact that I only held it for like two seconds before falling out.
I hope my point is coming across clear. I'm pretty sure every yogi has fallen on their face a bunch of times. We all have weaknesses. And we should be absolutely okay with the fact that we're never going to be perfect. Instead, let's continue to learn and to grow. Let's continue to challenge ourselves and push our boundaries. Let's continue to celebrate victories and work at the things that come to us with more difficulty.
I also hope that this encourages anyone who is new to yoga and is afraid of embarrassing themselves. We were all in your shoes once. And we all have certain poses that we struggle with. Know that it's okay to be exactly where you are. Walk into that class, feel confident, do the best you can, and come back again to continue your practice.