I’ve had this niggling thought for the past few days which I haven’t felt able to accurately describe – until now.
To help explain, I want you to think about someone you’ve come across in your time who has been super popular, or super brainy, the captain of every sport team in the school. We all know those people. I can think of many, from my time at school and as an adult. Those appear to be perfect people have haunted each and every one of us at some time in our lives, where we couldn’t help but feel comparatively lesser than. Not as cool or gifted if you will. They seem to be the people who are always making a lot of noise. They make sure everyone knows about them one way or another.
So how does yoga tie into all of this?
What I’ve come to realize through my personal practice and teaching, is that yoga does not discriminate. That it has an amazing way of separating the doers from the show ponies, the strong from the weak – and I’m not talking about physical strength here. Whilst it can be assumed the most flexible, athletic, popular, strong, attractive, loudest person must be good at yoga also – the truth is, this is often not the case. Interestingly enough, I’ve witnessed the people who place themselves on pedestals get totally floored by the practice, whilst the humble ones, the ones who consider themselves misfits most of the time (this was me) are the ones who never give up. They push, and they push, and they push a little more even when there is absolutely nothing left to give. They find fuel in a non-existent reserve tank and somehow manage keep going.
To observe this among my students is nothing short of amazing and what I consider to be a sign of real strength. And whilst they may not have perfect flexibility and can barely touch their toes unlike the person next to them – they don’t let that stop them. They keep working; a little, a little, a little more until finally they too are touching their toes. It is purely through sheer determination and will that yoga practitioners can do amazing things with their bodies, and frankly - the buck stops here. When you’re on your mat in class, it is you and only you that you’re left with. No amount of money, popularity, attractiveness or false claims can change your practice. This is the canvass you must work with and yoga will brutally highlight every strength and every weakness. This is the power of the practice.
Whilst I treat all my students equally, it is the students who give it their all that inspire me to be the best teacher and practitioner I can be. Watching people pick themselves up every single time they hurt themselves or fall and feel weak, is truly a gift. My hope is for all the people out there who feel not good enough, strong enough, or flexible enough to do yoga, to understand that you are the likely ones who will go the farthest with your practice. Who will reach the seemingly impossible heights. And why will this be you? Because you’re a doer. You won’t give up. Because it’s not about the popularity or attention for you. It’s about the pure practice.
Sending huge hugs to you all. Enjoy your practice and remember to keep smiling.
Much love - misfit & proud - Jessica xx