People sometimes say, once they learn I’m a yoga teacher, that they don’t go to yoga because they aren’t flexible enough. And as much as it cracks me up, I understand it. There is something inside of us that wants to be perfect, to strive for perfection, but sometimes we have no idea what that is or means. In the same way that I was afraid to speak Spanish for the first 2 years I was here in Mexico for fear of a mistake, or my sentence wasn’t “perfect.” So I stayed silent. What good did that do me? Well, I did alot of listening, but I was nervous and scared and didn’t feel good about it.
The same comes with yoga postures, because our world focuses on “getting things right” and we think we need to strive for perfection in each pose. But what is that exactly? The first thing that can come to mind is our form. ‘How do I look?’ When in reality it is the last thing to think about. Perfection isn’t how high your leg is in standing split or how steady your balance is in tree pose, but rather what’s inside of us while we are doing these postures. While we put our bodies through these motions, what’s going on in our heart, our mind, our spirit? When we achieve a sense of peace in the physical posture we are “doing” that is perfection. And, it’s funny, because you then emanate peace, and people notice and even have comment, “wow you held tree pose perfectly.” Really? I had no idea, but I know it felt right. And that’s what counts.
I decided one day while I was driving my dogs to the beach for a walk, today is a cartwheel kind of day. I did a cartwheel in a class with some students about a month before and it felt great. I was scared at first because the last time I did one was, well, a long time ago and I wondered if my body remembered. I knew my heart did as I felt a surge of joy just thinking about making the first move toward a cartwheel. And, it was, pure joy. So I decided to do another one on the beach.
I happened to have my cell phone and I asked my friend to video it, just for fun. I must have done 20 of them, but 3 were caught on video. Someone viewing the video commented that my alignment was perfect. I wasn’t sure what perfect alignment for a cartwheel was, but I knew it just felt good. I felt balanced, at peace, strong and free and that is perfection to me, no matter what it looks like. But when you feel it, people see it, it resonates. And that is what perfection is: resonating the joy within and connecting with other people’s hearts.
If you enjoyed this blog, please consider helping us raise money for our Bending Tree Expansion Project. This is a project we’ve been working on to expand our services in the La Manzanilla, Jalisco, Mexico community.We have several levels of giving. Click on the photo to find out more.