Why I hate Yoga & That Annoying Voice
There are days when I hate yoga, or let’s say I hate the yoga that is sold to me through social media. If you were to take a look at yoga through the Instagram lens what would you see? An extremely challenging asana performed by an incredibly flexible yogi on a beach, in the snow, in the mountains. Maybe that inspires you? And maybe like me there are days when you hear the little voice inside that tells you. “You will never be able to do that” “You will never be that flexible” and whatever other bullshit it comes up with! Listening to that voice is EXHAUSTING!
It can be challenging in this goal orientated world where acquisition and achievement are championed (Yes even in the world of yoga!) to not fall into the trap of ‘Yoga Guilt’. You know that thought that says you must master a certain posture, an arm balance a headstand or the splits, and in order to do this you must practice practice practice, sometimes to the detriment of your own body!! How many times have you left a yoga class feeling bad because your body didn’t “perform” the way you would have liked?
I believe we have all been guilty of this at some point! I also feel there is nothing inherently wrong with trying to master a certain posture. Part of practicing asana is to get to know your body, understand your limits and occasionally challenge them. Testing and moving your boundaries as you discover more of yourself. Respecting and listening to your body as it evolves.
Asana Is Not The Goal Of Yoga
But asana only covers such a small part of what yoga is. Your body is only a tool in this journey of self discovery, it is by no means the goal! Nobody becomes enlightened by doing a headstand or putting their legs behind their head! Nobody overcomes self sabotaging habits by performing a handstand and guess what, no one ever became a “better yogi” by becoming more flexible! The inner work of yoga is not very instagrammable though, so we get sold an image, one that can often lead us to believe that this image is the ultimate aim of yoga.
Yoga Is a Light That Guides Us
For me Yoga is the light that shines inside illuminating the darkness within, bringing forth limiting beliefs, unhealthy patterns, discomfort and sometimes emotional pain, all to be seen and transformed. For these transformational aspects to come forth we must look deeper inside ourselves and see past the superficial image of yoga positions and our obsession with physical achievement, to begin to understand the connection between our body, our mind, our breath and our consciousness.
Learning about yoga from Instagram is like learning about sex from watching porn! It’s all about the image!!
Are we using the achievement of certain postures and the glorification of asana to avoid the deeper aspects of ourselves and the discomfort that can arise from presence and stillness?
What are your thoughts? Do you find Instagram yoga inspiring? Do you think we can do better to portray yoga in a more truthful way?
Let me know in the comments!