While yoga feels amazing to me and my body craves its postures...sometimes...I feel a bit awkward.
Yep, you read that right. The yoga teacher, the lifelong yoga lover, a person who’s been moving her body into deliberate shapes since 1990 (I started dancing at three), feels awkward. My guess is that you’ve felt awkward in a yoga class, too. Am I right? Or, maybe you’re reading this and have yet to try a class because you think you’ll look awkward.
Just a little secret...that awkward feeling is probably here to stay. It doesn’t just fall aside as you learn how to gracefully transition from a Warrior 1 to a Warrior 2. It doesn’t just go away once you’ve been practicing yoga for 10+ years. It’s probably still hanging out in there somewhere once you have no problems with Headstand.
Why? Because our bodies are changing all the time. Each day is a new challenge for you and your body. Today, you may be so balanced, drinking your morning tea in Tree pose, but tomorrow you’re a little wobbly. Or, perhaps years from now you experience a knee injury or have surgery and you relearn how to practice a Sun Salutation with more care. Or, maybe, like me, you carry a tiny human for nine months and then birth that human. You guys, for weeks I felt like a baby giraffe after our little bear’s birth. I make light of it now, but the reality was that I had damaged nerves and I couldn’t pick up my toes. When I started practicing again...yoga felt awkward.
And, it’s okay. Actually, it’s more than okay, because you are learning to push yourself out of a comfort zone. That’s the whole point. Yoga teaches us to be aware of our edges, to be aware of when we feel off-balance//silly//scared//anxious, and we use the asana (postures) as a practice to work our way through. The physical and mental aspects of yoga become a metaphor for your life. How you approach anew pose that you’ve never tried before or one you can’t do yet is the same way you approach something new or a little scary off of your mat, too.
Isn’t that beautiful? Why not let yourself feel awkward? Why not embrace it? Why not learn how to move through it and give yourself a little grace? And, isn’t that a practice of accepting the whole you, even those so called imperfections? Yes. That’s yoga.
I saw this quote a few days ago that is a good one to sit with when we are really hard on ourselves whether we’ve been practicing for 10 years or whether we’ve just started: “Where we think we need more discipline, we often need more self-love.” - Tara Mohr. Remember this, on your mat and always.
So seriously, have you felt a bit awkward or silly in a yoga class? How did you work through it? Please write to me and share! I love hearing from you.