Yoga Doesn’t Care What Your Body Looks or Feels Like

I haven’t been practicing (or writing about) yoga these past few months. On a good week, I’d make it to class… once. This weekend however, I was determined to get to class and get back in the swing of things. I arrived and after the first four postures I started having creative and inspiring ideas about the world, my place in it, topics to write about and how to use my voice in a larger sea of change.

This is what yoga does for me, among many things. It inspires creativity. And that creativity comes from working hard in class, clearing the metal chatter and pushing the anxious energy out of my body. And pushing all of that stiffness and anxiety out of my body, especially since I haven’t been practicing, didn’t feel good. It didn’t look good.

Having been a hard core yogi for years (where I practiced six times a week), it’s been a long time since I felt stiff in class. I mean really stiff. Leaning forward I could feel my tight vertebrae moving in a way they hadn’t since I first started practicing: creaky, tight, immobile.

In Standing Bow I was breathing hard, I started to get dizzy and needed to sit down. In Triangle I had clearly lost a lot of my inner thigh strength because I slipped on the floor and almost pulled a muscle. And I had a thought that stuck with me, a thought I wouldn’t have had when I first started practicing, a thought that comes from self-acceptance earned from years of showing up and working hard.

The stiffness, the lack of muscle tone, none of that mattered.

Yoga doesn’t care what I feel like in the postures, whether it’s fun or miserable, inspiring or deflating. The only thing that matters is that I was there, that my blood was pumping freshly oxygenated blood throughout my body, that my hamstrings and lower spine were stretching, that I was taking out the mental garbage that zaps my creativity.

Going to yoga is not about your thighs, abs or executing the perfect posture. It’s about moving your body and working your heart and lungs so that they last you for years to come. Yoga doesn’t care what you look or feel like in class, and neither should you.

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