Is There Room for Comparison in Yoga?

Regardless of if you're into Yin, Bikram, Vinyasa, Hatha or DDP Yoga, most instructors will tell you to make the practice your own by listening to your own body.  Most instructors will tell you to not compare yourself to the others in the room.  Each person's practice is individual, and we all have different needs, so if you need to take rest, do it.  

I am very lucky to teach and practice at 2 great yoga studios.  Both studios welcome a variety of styles, students, and abilities.  I love these people!

I got on Facebook this afternoon and read the following, "easy fix...whew!!! Just made us appreciate the heat that much more!  Continues to amaze me why non-bikram people want to debate the proof the heat is an added bonus!!!  Thanks for hanging in there this morning with me - it's fixed and ready to go!!!!  See you in the HOT room!!!!"

AHHH!!!!!  Why do some yoga instructors and studio owners feel the need to try to put others down?  Why the need to mention "non-bikram people" at all?  Why not just mention how much the heat has benefited you personally?  If you want your students to turn inward and make their practice their own, why not demonstrate that mindset when advertising your classes?  

The same goes for all of the rest of us who may be tempted to put down any other styles of yoga?  WE ARE ALL HERE FOR THE SAME REASON!  Let's share the yoga, share the love, and help everyone feel great.

I have enjoyed Bikram, Ashtanga, Yin, Iyengar, Prana, Vinyasa, Hatha, Aerial Yoga, etc.  Each class was different but helped me get back in my own body.  Please, let us support each other as an entire yoga community, and share the love.

In conclusion, no room for comparison leaves more room for love and mutual respect.  End Yoga Rant.

Namaste - Beth



In Defense of the Yoga Selfie

First of all, please allow me to defend my very un-yogic judgemental attitude that I'm about to admit to.  I have been opposed to the "yoga selfie" for quite a long time.  The seemingly borderline narcissitic act of taking photos of oneself in yoga poses, seemed to be the exact opposite of what my yoga practice represents.  To me, yoga was all about finding the steadiness of the mind, and what I learned about myself during the process.  

My recent experimentaion with selfies was strictly a tool to evaluate my own practice.  When combined with some inspiration from friends, my attitude has shifted.  Here are a few of the benefits to the yoga selfie.  

1. Selfies can help you check your alignment.  You can attempt to feel these actions all you want, but when attempting to refine alignment, a picture is worth a thousand words.  You don't even have to show them to anyone else if you don't want to.

Imagine my dismay when I, with 3 years of teaching and 15 years of practice experience, actually saw my alignment issues in downward facing dog.  OMG how have I managed to even function?  No wonder my teacher keeps telling to stop bringing my chest so close to my thighs. 

A quick selfie allowed me to realize that what felt like my chest hovering up way too high was actually a more properly aligned downward facing dog.  Who knew?  My teacher did, because she saw what I was doing, and with a quick yoga selfie, I could too.  Now I can see the difference between my perception and reality.

2. Selfies can help you share your practice with yogis near and far.  Let's face it, for those who actually post their own photos, it takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there.  Rather than being a way to brag, it can be a way to create community.  Sharing selfies can connect people from near and far who share techniques, tips, and progress with each other.

3. Selfies can inspire people to try new things.  Maybe the most interesting aspect has been wathcing the instagram account that belongs to my friends at mommycrossing.  I have seen how individual each person's practice really is.  Some poses that I find easy have been a challenge for them, and some that I find impossible, they post downright amazing photos.  Some of the photos include their mini yogis, which is really pretty great!  

4.  Selfies can teach you a few new techniques.  I've been inspired to try a new prop or assist for a few tricky poses.  I've googled poses that I've seen, and have found new ways of entering poses.  Trying new things helps me to build to my own practice, and helps me develop tips to pass on to my students. 

In conclusion, if you are inspired to take yoga selfies, they don't have to be perfect, after all, this is a practice.  Please, no judgement of yourself or others.  Selfies can help refine alignment, build community, inspire and teach.  Check out my instagram page here, and consider sharing your own photos.  Who knows who you'll inspire.


Namaste - Beth