I excitedly announced a couple weeks ago that I’ve been accepted into the 2017 yoga teacher training class at a local studio I practice at. I had been waiting for this news for years, and I wanted to find a way to document my experience.
Even though I have been practicing yoga for just under eight years, archiving my practice on social media wasn’t really something I was into. This had a few different reasons. One reason was that I didn’t see it as necessary. Others include being afraid that my asanas weren’t “Instagram worthy,” and the fact that yoga has always been a private practice for me. I love it and want to share it with others which is part of the reason I’m pursuing teaching, but it’s also my safe haven, so I rarely invite people to go with me. It’s where I go to still my mind, to meditate, to relax, to grow.
So putting it all out there on social media was a scary thought.
Regardless, I always love seeing progress photos of yogis on Instagram. I love the difference years make in various asanas. More importantly, I love the way you grow mentally and emotionally. I tend to be a very wound up, excitable person. If I’m calm, you can bet it’s because I’m tired or not in a great mood. It’s as hard for me to hide my emotions as it is for me to be quiet. There’s a moment in Eat, Pray, Love (my favorite book) when Liz Gilbert explained how she was at an Ashram in India and decided she was too chatty. She decided instead that she was going to change. She was going to become less talkative, stop being such a social bunny, and learn to have some discipline when it comes to talking over others. Her vision included being known as “That Quiet Girl” who does everything sacredly and in silence. She daydreamed about being elusive and mystical. The quietest girl anyone has ever seen. And then she finds out her job at the Ashram she’s staying at is “Key Hostess”–a job that literally requires frequent talking–and all her plans go out the window.
That’s sort of how yoga has been for me–making plans but learning to roll with the punches.
Yoga has taught me so much about myself, namely how to push my limits but honor my body at the same time. How to open myself up to the physical and the spiritual. How to accept and appreciate that my body is not always going to work the way I hoped. And that it’s okay. It still works incredibly well in other ways. For example, I have tendinitis in my right wrist, making handstands and some arm balances pretty difficult. I can still do a mean headstand, though. My practice teaches me how to reach that stillness that I crave. That quiet, that silence, that patience, that inner peace.
I read recently that praying is the act of talking to God, but meditation is the act of listening to God. Meditation, for me, is the biggest part of my yoga practice. But as someone whose mind is constantly racing, it’s definitely the hardest. I think that quote I read sums it up pretty well. I loved that it serves as a reminder that I talk more than I listen, but we can all stand to listen a little more. If you listen hard enough, you’ll hear exactly what you need to.
This all brings me back to yoga and documenting my journey. My yoga teacher gently makes fun of people who Instagram their practice because he views it like a popularity contest. People are practicing asanas for others, not for themselves. And I agree with that to a point and in many cases.
For me, documenting my yoga journey in photos is a way to see the changes in my physical practice. However, the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects are still mine to keep. And I like it that way.
I’ll sum this up with a quote:
Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life.” — B. K. S. Iyengar
Isn’t that the ultimate goal for anyone, yogi or not?
Follow me on Instagram
To follow along my journey in photos, check out my Instagram account, The Wining Yogi (because I love wine, and I love yoga).