Do you feel like you expend a silly amount of energy trying to fit in? Fitting into clothes, fitting in at work, at school, fitting into other’s expectations of how your life is supposed to be?
Oh hell no!
Hold the phone right here—do you also sometimes feel like you’re trying to fit into yoga poses? Like they’re shaped one way and you’re shaped this complete other way and you really want to make your body fall into line and just look the way those dang poses look on the world wide web?
Getting on Side with the Shape of Your Asana
I hear all y’all shouting ‘Amen!’ right now, because every single one of us yogis, at one time or another, has said or thought or peeked around class and whimpered—my pose looks all wrong.
Even if you’re all zen now and you know better, I still bet there are times when you see someone in a super intense, full throttle Hanumanasana (with backbend and a smile) and you’re like—sheeeeeeit, that’s never going to happen.
Here’s the big question then: How can you stop trying to fit into an idea of what your pose is supposed to look like and instead let it be what it is?
1. Close your eyes.
If you can’t see it, you can’t compare it. I dare you—go do an entire practice with your eyes closed. Start feeling your practice from the inside out instead of giving your practice value based on how it looks or stacks up next to someone else’s.
2. Redirect your focus.
Focus on your breath. Focus on physical sensations. Focus on your mantra. By shifting your focus from the physical to the experiential, you’ll be able to feel the power of the poses. You will understand more acutely that poses are a stepping stone for self-discovery—and not the Holy Grail.
3. Voila! Alignment happens.
It’s a wild thing to witness. When I get students to focus on breath and explore sensations they so often are able to shift their own bodies into alignment just by feeling what’s happening.
Instead of looking and asking—am I in alignment?—see if you can come into alignment by feeling from the inside and not looking on the outside.
4. Some days are different.
Some days you might be Stretch Armstrong and some days the Tin Man. Neither is bad or good unless you choose to flavour it one way or the other. It’s not the shape of your pose that makes you an advanced yogi, it’s the way you act and live inside of a pose.
5. This bod is your bod.
You might never place your belly on your thighs in Uttanasana. You may never have a sexy Down Dog. Get over it. The sooner you accept your body’s quirks and crunchy bits, the sooner you can stop focusing on what you can’t do and start revelling in what you can do.
6. Fit in with you.
Instead of making other people’s asana the paradigm you strive after, let the shape of your own poses guide you.
You are enough. Your poses are perfect already. It sounds cheesy but it’s true. And hell, maybe all those bendy yogi Instagram pics have got it wrong. Maybe gangly and lumpy is the new graceful and poised.
And here. I drew you a picture. Enjoy.