It is kind of funny: the more inspired I am by my yoga practice, the less I feel like talking about it. I just want to get shit done. But I’ve made a goal of writing on my blog everyday, so now writing about yoga counts as getting something done!
Ashtanga is said to be 99% practice, 1% theory. Although if you’re so inclined, it would be easy to spend 99% of your time theorizing. Reading about other people’s practices. Looking at Instagram. Writing blog posts about yoga…
I go through phases where I like to see yoga poses and articles come up on my social media feeds and phases where I just really couldn’t care less. Or where I’m even annoyed by it. Where there is just too much yoga saturating my screen. Maybe it is tied to the phases of the moon…tomorrow is a moon day. No practice. I had to look up whether it is for the new moon or full moon, which makes me feel really out of touch with nature. I digress, though.
My point is that whether I want to see yoga information is all about me, not about the person posing on Instagram, or analyzing asanas on some website. The internet and all its apps and platforms have the most beautiful feature: an off button. When I don’t want to see it, I don’t. When I’m interested, the teachers who are being true to themselves by sharing inspirational pictures or words online are still there. Such a wonderful system.
I’m trying to strike the word “too” from my vocabulary, at least in relationship to people. When has telling someone they are “too ________” ever been a compliment? I can’t think of a single example. If someone is “too positive,” it means they are annoying. “Too emotional” is code for cry baby. “Too tall” – well, what on earth are they supposed to do about that? People are who they are.
Kino Macgregor is a role model for me in that regard. She’s an amazing yogi, who, after years of practice, can do some really amazing shit. She’s also a girly-girl, and she catches a lot of flak for being herself. “Too smiley” “too materialistic” “too appearance-based” – I’ve seen all kinds of weird “too _____” applied to her. All implying that less would somehow be better, more true to some unspoken rule about yoga.
But what is the alternative, really? Should she stop smiling, wear ugly clothes and not be so damn good at executing handstands? Uh, yeah. Like that is going to make the world a better place.
Last night I saw Kino’s post about laghuvajrasana on Instagram. I’ve been working on this pose for a few months. At first I was scared to even put my head on the ground. Even though it wasn’t very far away, I’d kind of clunk down. Not very graceful. That part became easier quickly, but for the life of me I can’t get back up out of the pose. I try everyday. Sometimes I lift and inch or two but always – clunk. Back to the ground.
But watching Kino’s little demo made me realize that laghuvajrasana is actually a lot like ustrasana, which I have no problem getting out of. So this morning I kept my hips up higher and thought of the pose as more of a backbend than an extension. To my utter shock and amazement, I made it out! Back up to kneeling all by myself. I was so excited. All is coming! It felt like there should have been applause. But of course my achievement was noticed only by me. I sat on my heels smiling stupidly for a minute before I could gather my wits for kapotasana.
So Kino, thank you. You are the perfect Kino, not “too” anything. If I follow my typical pattern, I will probably tune out of your feed for awhile soon. But I’m so thankful that it will still be there when I feel like coming back.