Over the weekend, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and saw that someone had commented on a friend’s picture, asking if they were too beginner to even attempt to go to a yoga class because they couldn’t go upside-down yet.
This horrified me, wondering how many people are afraid to attend a class because of all of the fancy poses they see on social media. Do they think that’s all that yoga is? Handstands? Putting their legs behind their head?
I can’t really do either of those things (yet! Never say never. Practice and all is coming!) and I consider myself a yogi.
If you can breathe, you can do yoga, for the breath is the single most important part of the practice.
If you do find yourself out of breath, you need to slow down, because that means you’ve lost the point and have strayed (perhaps in an attempt to keep up with someone else, whether that’s the person on the mat beside you or the teacher’s instructions).
The breath needs to be respected.
The breath is what tunes us into life itself. Without it, we are nothing. Literally.
It’s what brings us back to this moment. It’s what gives us the strength to keep going, even when everything seems impossible.
Yoga isn’t about having that perfect picture on Instagram. It isn’t about building a huge following on social media. It isn’t about showing off at parties. Instead, yoga is the greatest lesson life can offer.
When we are sweating bullets and exhausted, we keep going, to push beyond momentary discomfort, but also have the wisdom to stop before injury. Yoga is the practice of constantly wanting to be stronger, but also accepting and being grateful for exactly where we are now.
It is very easy to get caught up in a wicked game of comparison. It’s extremely easy to do with social media and all of those beautiful beach pictures many people share.
But, I think, instead of focusing on the beauty of the background or pose, we are actually meant to be focusing on the intention behind the person’s picture.
Most yogis that I follow on social media share their pictures to inspire everyone who finds it. They want to inspire you in your practice. They want to inspire you to roll out your mat, because you want to get stronger.
There is a struggle that I think all yogis experience throughout the course of their journey with yoga. Sometimes, when I get frustrated, I storm away from my mat, angry at myself. I judge my body harshly, wondering why I can’t be like this person or do that pose.
But, frustration is part of this path and, it too, is one of those big lessons that it takes lifetimes to truly learn.
Frustration can destroy your practice. It can take you away from your mat and lead you to unhealthy habits. It can cause you to give up. Or, frustration can be a driving force that keeps bringing you back to your mat again and again and again, every day until you are where you want to be.
Author: Stacy Porter
Editor: Travis May
Image: Author’s Own