Confessions of a Yogi – A weekly column by Jamie Silverstein
I used to assist in a kindergarten in Michigan. We had this fantastic book titled “Everybody Poops”. It was simple. It was obvious (“An elephant makes a big poop”…). It was amazing. Stop! Before you quit reading sweet friend, let me explain why…
Truth: We are more alike in our humanity than we are in our individuality. Simply, our most personal is the most universal. Or—everybody poops.
It’s Okay To Be Human
I spent more than a decade of my life striving for ‘perfection.’ I was professional figure skater (Ice Dancing) and US Olympian. And, if there is anything that my yoga practice has taught me, it is that the sense of humanity that I experienced in my sport and on the mat was not my ‘problem’. It was my truth.
As a yogi and yoga teacher, I fear that we can too often get caught up in our own rhetoric and ideals. Sure - We want to be off-the-grid, vegan, joint-less, composting, levitators. But most of us are not (me neither!). And that’s okay! In fact, floating aside, I’m pretty sure you are wonderful. Your humanity is wonderful.
There Is No Perfect Yoga Pose
In skating whether we bobbled (yup!) or did very well (yup!) there was never any perfect. There was just my partner and me. And, sometimes my very dramatic Russian coaches.
A yoga practice is the same. There is no ‘perfect.’ There is no end. Because, ultimately, it is not about the pose. And, the more poses we do the more we realize that poses are really just opportunities to question our mind’s desire for perfection or mastery a.k.a. that-thing-that-DISCONNECTS-me-from-our-interconnectedness. We are all connected. Everybody poops.
Get To Know Your Real Self
And, perfect - Perfect is just another asana that we can learn to detach from. The problem with perfect is this: Perfect is something my mind created.
So, when you unroll your mat, ask: what are you working towards? Yoga helps us know ourselves. Not as some separate, ‘perfect’ ideal. But as an ideal humane being.
Photo credit Lindsay France