I hate yoga. It has changed my life. It allows me to see myself for who I really am. It brings a massive magnifying glass up to all the things I need to work on in my life, emotionally and physically. It challenges me every single time I get on my mat. It makes me see all my limiting beliefs, shortcomings, flaws and strengths.
Oh – no – wait. Now I love yoga. See above.
And this is me. The yoga teacher in a love-hate relationship with the very thing she teaches. It’s what one might call “awks”. From everything I’ve seen out there in The World (i.e. the internet – which is pretty much the same thing, isn’t it?) I seem to be the only one of my kind. The more I trawl through websites, blogs and heck even printed magazines (what can I say – I’m an old fashioned girl) the more I’ve started to think I’m unique. And not in a ‘good’ way.
The more I see all those beautifully lit, artily styled, anatomically perfect folks bending themselves into poses that seem straight out of Cirque du Soleil, then sharing their ‘Top Recipe for a Life Changing Kale and Kelp Smoothie’ the more it could seem that I’m in the wrong job. There are various qualities you are lead to believe that it’s essential for a yoga person to have. I was starting to think I didn’t have any of them.
First of all, the bendiness. I am not a naturally bendy person. Genes, emotional baggage and years of falling off/under/over horses (landing head-first on more than a coupe of occasions) put pay to that. My body fights and flails like a Slipknot fan at a Justin Bieber concert when I ask it to effortlessly float through a sun salutation, or rest peacefully in kurmasana.
Then there’s my mind. It loves to regale me with tales of all those times I tried something new and failed, persuading me that it’s actually best to stay inside my onesie and inside my comfort zone. When I am on the mat it runs backwards and forwards, like an overexcited dog in a butchers, telling me that the pose I hate the most is coming up and it’s probably going to be horrible. And don’t think that it has a rest when I’m not doing my pratice – nooo! Of course, then it’s making me feel guilty for doing something/anything else.
Sensitive yoga folk should look away now because if all of that wasn’t enough to make your ujjayi breath go a bit whimpery, hold on to your mats….
I like wine. And beer. And gin. And I like drinking all of those things (not together – you don’t need to stage the intervention yet). Sometimes I drink them until I get a bit…umm…jolly. Oh who am I kidding – I get rat-arsed. I snarl at people who push in front of me on the train. I hate the Daily Mail (but if you think that’s not ok, we should call it a day now). I laugh at ‘You’ve Been Framed’. AND I DON’T LIKE KALE. NO ONE ACTUALLY LIKES KALE!!!
There must be more people like me. In fact I know there are. I meet them in my classes, and they feel bad about it. I feel bad about it too – and that’s not ok.
We do our best to do yoga – and not just the stuff on the mat. We think it’s a great way to live our lives, and recognise that it is a truly amazing system of growing into the best version of you that you can possibly be – but at the same time we are living our lives! Yes, I’m a yoga teacher and I feel genuinely lucky to be in a position where I can teach all this amazing, groovy, brilliant stuff to people. But I struggle with it. Daily. To be honest, sometimes hourly. On the Underground sometimes it’s a minute-by-minute thing. Anyway, we shouldn’t allow anything (especially the stuff that’s meant to make us feel great) make us feel bad when all we’re all doing is the best job we possibly can, at that minute, with what we’ve got.
So if you find opening a wine bottle more fun than opening your hips; if your kit is from Sainsbury’s not Sweaty Betty; if you snigger whenever someone says ‘tittibasana’; if your love/hate relationship with yoga is more ‘on-again-off-again’ than Jordan and, well, anyone – you’re in the right place.