Yoga is probably one of my longest relationships. And just like any other relationship, we have our ups and downs. I work hard at keeping my love for yoga going even when I don’t feel like loving it. Especially when I don’t feel like loving it. But despite all that, I know that yoga is always there for me; waiting patiently for me to come back.
So, just what is it about yoga that keeps me going back to my mat?
There are many factors that make me go back to yoga – great teachers, soulful yoga articles, wonderful classes or workshops, support from yoga buddies. Another factor for me is, believe it or not, Instagram. There are hundreds, if not, thousands of yogis who reach out to yoga practitioners the world over with a picture (or a hundred) of their poses and words of wisdom.
Before I go any further, let it be known that there are two camps when it comes to this topic – one who can’t get enough of handstands and inversions, and one who loathes the very idea of showing off for the cameras. I must say I struggled to appreciate these “Instagram Yogis” after my initial joy of discovering them. After awhile, it all seemed almost circus-like with all the handstands and crazy hip action. “Seriously, there is NO WAY my leg is going up there, pretty lady!”
The more Instagram accounts I followed, my somewhat injured body felt as low as my heart. And I started to think that maybe this yoga thing wasn’t for me. There were girls on Instagram who had only just started yoga for a few months and were already doing fancy inversions. Power to them for being able to do those challenging poses, but how could I ever measure up to them despite almost two years of practice*?
I became jaded.
As I removed some of these “exhibitionists”, I realised there were still a few yogis that I wanted to stick with; who spoke to me beyond their poses of the day. What they had to say turned out to be far more important and truly resonated with my practice. Also, it was far more manageable then some crazy pose which would require me to dislodge my right hip bone from my hip!
Here are some of these yogis who constantly remind me that this practice of mine is mine alone.
I am aware that some of you may not agree with my choices and say they are no different from the other “exhibitionists” I mentioned earlier. I suppose through writing this piece, I have come to a realisation (of sorts) – that there is no right or wrong. Judging someone for what they do or do not post on social media doesn’t make me a better yogi than them. What may seem unsuitable for me, might just be something that inspires someone else and vice versa.
To all yoga practitioners out there, practice the way you want to practice. Listen to your own voice and heart. If something you read or see on Instagram doesn’t speak to you, just follow another account. It’s that simple. Inspiration comes in many forms. Embrace them and who knows? Maybe these lovely yogis I’ve mentioned might inspire you as much as they’ve inspired me.
*Note : A belief that I have now come to understand as flawed. Our bodies are all different and special in its own ways. Comparing ourselves to others defeats one of the main purposes of yoga – a personal practice that is completely and wholly yours.