I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. Mine was spent with family and lots of sunshine, laughs, and the movie “Independence Day”. Very patriotic indeed.
I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to write about after ending my body image series posts last week, but I’ve had something on my mind lately. I haven’t really tried to articulate it in words yet, so bare with me.
A few weeks ago I was at my yoga studio, waiting for the class before mine to get out so I could get situated in our room. I’m just minding my own business, ruminating on my day and looking forward to shedding any stress from the day in my class. I overheard two yoga instructors talking about their weekend. (Ok, it’s not like I was eavesdropping on these two – they were being pretty loud so it would actually have been hard not to listen. The conversation didn’t bother me, I just thought I’d put it out there that I wasn’t going out of my way to listen to them.) One of the instructors asked the other how her Father’s Day was. She replied with something along the lines of:
“Oh, it was good. We spent the day doing what my husband wanted to do, so it consisted of eating a lot of burgers, drinking a few beers, being lazy, and not doing any yoga. Not very yogi-like of me.”
I paraphrased most of that, but the “not very yogi-like of me” is a direct quote.
We are all guilty of putting enormous expectations on ourselves to be the best version of us that we can be. It’s human nature, and it doesn’t just go away on it’s own. I’m not saying that this is bad, but how does this extreme expectation cause us to feel negative about our actions? I mean, how can having a few burgers and beers to celebrate the father of your children be a bad thing?
So, I caught myself thinking about this statement a lot. “Not very yogi-like of me.” What does that mean? And what does it say that a yoga teacher is saying it, in a lobby of a busy yoga studio, with lots of students around? I wonder how many other yoga students overheard this and now feel guilty when they hit up an innocent happy hour after work? Or feel bad when they crave a pizza? I’m not a yoga teacher, but I understand the pressure that yoga teachers are put under to be transcendent and “have their stuff” together. But isn’t figuring out how to get your life in order part of the yoga journey? Isn’t acknowledging the fact that maybe it IS ok to have a glass of wine every once in a while part of being a yogi?
Nobody is perfect. It’s just how the world rolls. If we were all perfect, we would have nothing to learn in this lifetime and that just seems boring to me. I refuse to believe the statement of “Oh I had a beer this weekend and didn’t do any yoga and ohmygosh that was so un-yogi like of me!” is true. I refuse to live in a world where I can’t be lazy for a few days and eat a piece of chocolate cake every once in a while. This is my path, and yes, I can’t compare it to those yoga teachers in my studio, but it is our basic human nature to compare.
I think we all, as a whole, need to be more aware of what we are saying. I seriously doubt that yoga teacher said that and 100% meant that; I’m sure it was mostly a joke. But still. Her words influence more people than she probably realizes. Yoga teachers are looked up to as role models and guides. Just like mothers, or fathers, or husbands, or teachers, or wives, or sisters or brothers, etc etc etc. Every single thing we do and say impacts somebody else. We need to start thinking about this when we say things. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Just relax and live. Your path is your path and it is uniquely yours. Nobody can change that or judge that. Nobody knows what is right for you except yourself. Trust your gut. Trust your judgement for yourself. Believe that you know what is best for you and if that sometimes calls for not doing yoga, then so be it. It doesn’t make you any less “yogi”.
My yoga teacher, maybe this same day, mentioned the concept of dharma in our class. She talked about how dharma is finding your calling in life and how your yoga practice can help you find that purpose for yourself. We did a lot of grounding techniques and practices, focusing on the breath and setting an intent for our practice that day. I’m not 100% sure what my dharma is yet, but I do feel like I’m on the right track. I hope you guys find that, too. And I truly think yoga can help you get there. But if you have a beer or two between now and the finish? I don’t think the world will end and you will still be practicing yoga. Just keep that in mind and go easy on yourself.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’m off to nap, do some laundry, and be lazy. I may or may not do some at home yoga, but if I don’t, I sure won’t be beating myself up about it. 😉
Happy OM’ing and namaste. ❤