One of my greatest challenges as a yoga instructor is my personal practice. Sounds silly, I teach 5 yoga classes a week, a personal practice should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. oh so very wrong. It seems as if the hardier my teaching schedule is the less “time” I have for my own personal practice. Teaching yoga is not a personal practice. It is a gift you give to another person, but it is not a gift you give to yourself.
Generally, I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions but as we moved through January this was at the forefront of my mind. My practice, and yogic education (which should be never ending) seemed stagnant. So, I consciously made the choice to dive head first back into my practice. Taking 4 classes a week, on top of teaching 5 classes a week, seems like a lot, but it feels amazing. It’s my own little way of immersing myself back into the one thing (besides my fiance) that I am in love with.
Choosing to step back from my private health counseling practice and take an active role in the ownership of Live. Breathe. Grow. wasn’t a decision I took lightly. It was one way of immersing myself back into yoga. It’s not that I don’t enjoy health coaching, but living my yoga feels so much more in line with my spirit.
In many ways I struggled as a heath coach, mostly over my lack of perfection. It’s the virgo in me to want to fit in to the perfect healthy mold. I wanted my belly to be flat, my arms and legs long and lean and I wanted not to reach for the salty and sweet snacks when emotions ran high. I couldn’t necessarily achieve that and while my clients were successful and loved me as a health coach, inside I felt like a failure. Which was not easy for the virgo in me to accept. Virgos are perfection.
The perfectionist in me struggles on the mat. In each yoga class I teach, I remind my students “this is your time on your mat. Let go of judgement. Dive into yourself and love your practice.” When you teach and neglect your personal practice, it’s extremely hard to practice what you preach…or teach.
Coming back into my personal practice is helping me let go of my imperfections. On Tuesday, Nancy and I took a yoga class with Wendy, one of our beloved teachers. While working on eka pada koundiyanasana variations and pincha mayurasana consciously tried to let go of any “imperfections.” I kept my focus inside and on my mat. I let go of judgement, I didn’t look around to see the other people in the yoga room and I came closer to my perfect than I ever have. It felt amazing….and a lightbulb went off.
I have short humeri. My upper arms are just short. My elbow doesn’t even reach my floating rib. How could I have never noticed this before in my life?
This lightbulb was more like a flood light. It allowed my heart to soften for myself. My palms have never reached the mat in staff pose. I always attributed it to extra padding around my waist and hips. On Tuesday I realized that is not the case. I could be a string bean, with 10% body fat and my palms would still not reach the mat in staff pose. My palms will never reach the mat in staff pose. I have short humerus(es).
I find it almost ridiculous that it took me over 10 years of practice to come to this conclusion. But we’re all works in progress right? Each one of us is IMperfect. And that is ok.
Have you ever had a lightbulb moment over your IMperfect..ions?