yoga. it’s a practice rich in self-enlightenment, meditation, spiritual teachings, and becoming one. namaste. when walking into the room, you are hit with warm quiet air. sometimes the earthy, slightly sweet, i-just-walked-into-a-moist-dark-basement smell of patchouli swirls through the room. half a dozen to 3 dozen(did you splurge for a morning class or join the community $6 a head class?) half-dressed people, all in the latest yoga fashion, quietly stretching on their mats. each trying to stretch further and making it look completely flawless. simple, easy, flowing postures, that surely took much practice. unrolling your yoga mat in just the right spot(for me-far from the mirror, in a dark corner near the exit), carefully unfolding your towel and sitting down legs stretched out in front of you. you lean down into it and realize its slightly more difficult than everyone else is making it look. your slightly too large chest is preventing you from leaning all the way into your “my natural metabolism and love of french fries makes me a little squishy and not so flat” stomach. that’s okay, you’ve got this. you like exercise and you like feeling a good sort of burn. focus on the toes…reach…reach…whew, success. now hold it. ahhh, don’t let go! your boobs are squished so much its a little uncomfortable…just a second longer..shit, okay, now it straight up hurts. i can, i can, i can’t…so, leaning back. okay, wow. that was tough. but, you succeeded. yay! score. excellent. you look around the room and realize that the instructor has just walked into the room. looks like that will be all the stretching you can get in beforehand. that’s alright, you’ve got this….
…and if you would stop the constant chatter in your head, you DO “got this”. that’s where i get caught up. for me, the yoga studio is one of the most uncomfortable places i can possibly be. the judgement, the higher-than-thou attitude, the false sense of perfection. unfortunately, when entering the studio being what many would consider to be slightly less than perfect, you are often met with stares of seasoned yogis, seeming to ask you why you think you deserve to be in their presence. namaste is the phrase in which most people associate with yoga. namaste has a deep and spiritual significance. it recognizes the belief that the life force, the divinity, the Self or the God in me is the same in all. acknowledging this oneness, we honor the god in the person we meet. unfortunately, many practitioners have no real knowledge of the true meaning of the word they so often utter. namaste. one. we are all one. there is no room for judgement. namaste isn’t separation. its isn’t not good enough. there isn’t any “no” or “not”. yoga is a practice in self. self-development, self-fulfillment, self-realization, self-esteem, self-adjustment, and most importantly, self-LOVE. when i walk into the studio, i immediately lose my self-confidence. yes, its true that yoga folks can be some of the nastiest, judgmental people i have ever met(i also know some beyond wonderful practitioners), but it is also true that i do not need to pay attention to their judgement. there is no size, physical, or emotional requirement to practice yoga. some extra(or a lot extra) pounds, an injured knee, a cynical mindset, or lack of self-esteem, does not prevent you from becoming your best self while becoming a flexible, enlightened yogi. enlightenment. its what yoga is about. pay attention to self, and only self…you got this.