Is Your Yoga Practice Making You SICK? Why Do You Practice Yoga?
Did you ever consider that this “healthy” phenomenon called yoga could be the very thing that is making you sick, miserable, and living in a cesspool of mediocrity, filled with judgment, comparison, self-loathing, and operating from a lack mentality? Do you ever walk into practice or away from practice feeling less than, feeling like you’ll never be the girl with the perfectly sculpted booty poured into the latest LuLu leggings? Or the girl contorted into some complicated bind or arm balance that you see blasted all over your IG and social media?
If so, the question really becomes do you want to be that girl??? And would you admit it if you secretly wanted to be that girl? And if the answer to either of those questions is yes, Why? I am not asking this question in any sort of judgmental or condescending tone because I wanted to be that girl!!
But with the help of some incredible mentors, one of those mentors being injury, I started asking why. Why did I want to be something other than myself? Why did I want my head to touch the floor in Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), why did I want to collect postures like Hallmark ornaments? Why was I pushing and forcing and applying a “no pain, no gain” mentality in the very practice that is intended to heal me? These are some of the questions that I have been daring to ask myself. And it took, even more, daring to answer them. Honestly. Like real deal, raw, ugly, messy truth kind of answers. And I’m going to get real brave here and tell YOU my answer.
Because I wanted to be better than everyone else. Yup. I wanted my physical practice to be this display, this evidence that I am a REAL yogi. Just like every other addiction in life, you can never get enough. Ever.
“Why did I want to collect postures like Hallmark ornaments? Why was I pushing and forcing and applying a ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality in the very practice that is intended to heal me?”
There is no shiny posture out there that can fill the gaping hole within. Impressing other people was like a fix, a drug, a crying out for others to love me enough to fill in the gap of what I couldn't seem to give myself. What I did uncover with a gentle sense of compassion for myself, in being that scary vulnerable, is, that I only wanted to feel better than, because I didn't feel like enough. I didn't fully and completely love me. And I still don’t. But I am more in love with myself today than I was yesterday. By seeing myself clearly, by admitting that ugly truth, I gifted myself the power to say, “that’s not who I want to be.” And that is where the change occurs. That is where I began to cultivate a practice full of love and gratitude towards my body, my mind, and my spirit. And it is filled with integrity and honor and feeling. If it feels off or wrong, I don't do it. I use blocks and blankets and props and treat myself like the GODDESS I am. It feels so damn good! And I am proud, no longer worried that I’m not bound up like a pretzel, but glowing in the self-affirming gift of simply being me!
If you are truly tired of feeling how you feel, you have got to get real with yourself. Yoga IS NOT about fancy postures, name brand tights, or a perfect body. Yoga IS about getting really honest with yourself. It’s about seeing yourself, your stuff, your habits, and your ways of being and asking yourself if they are causing harm or harmony within. It is about seeing that you alone cause your own suffering, your own sickness, your own DIS-EASE. It is also you, and you alone, who has the power to change it all. And that’s my idea of POWER yoga….the power to take your life and happiness into your own hands!
(Want to read more about my definition of yoga? Check out: What is Yoga? )
“The choice is yours, this practice has the power to heal you, to transform you beyond your wildest dreams, but without intention, without the courage to face your own bullshit…..you will continue to drown in your own stories, excuses, and self-created drama.”
So next time you get on your mat, ask yourself why? Why am I practicing? What am I practicing? and for whom am I practicing? Am I cultivating a practice and habits that will serve me? or Am I just taking my addictions onto my mat and diving deeper into them? The choice is yours, this practice has the power to heal you, to transform you beyond your wildest dreams, but without intention, without the courage to face your own bullshit…..you will continue to drown in your own stories, excuses, and self-created drama (sounds harsh, I know, but that's the kind of truth bombs we need to start dropping on ourselves!) I sincerely hope you will dare to ask, to be honest with yourself and when you inevitably see the not so pretty truth, to not judge yourself, in fact, give yourself a high five and a resounding “hell yeah” because you dared to face the unconscious, programmed beliefs that have run your life into the dead end of mediocrity.
And you my friend, are everything but mediocre. In fact, you are magnificent! So take your life and your mind back! Reprogram it, consciously with kindness and compassion. And never ever stop asking WHY!
You are beautiful
You are whole
You are enough
Namaste Beautiful Yogis