For the longest time (the span of roughly a decade), I only practiced yoga once a week. Usually Sunday mornings to stretch out all the kinks of the work weeks, the workouts I’d put my body through and just life stressors. It wasn’t until the middle of my second trimester that I began to implement a more regular practice.
But even then, I didn’t identify myself as even a decent yogi. I was kind of like how Alexander’s day went. Terrible, horrible, no good…
But was I really?
I saw all of these great yogis on social media, YouTube, yoga sites, bending and flexing with fluid, hypnotizing movements. My yoga was absolutely nothing like that. My transitions were jumbled sometimes. My movement stuttered and stumbled a bit.
I called myself a “bad yogi”, and it became my identifier. So much so, that once my head latched on to the phrase, it started giving me a pass to not push myself more, or to try harder. My thoughts cluttered around whatever movement I was doing in a flow, and got the best of me. I didn’t focus, my mind never cleared. I never fully let yoga “hug” me.
Then one day, I was on my deck, moving through sun salutations, and tried a pose I had seen on Instagram a few times, and loved. I thought it was beautiful, but no, I could never do that. I’m a bad yogi.
No. I’m just a yogi.
I failed the first attempt, and several attempts after. Bad yogi my ass, I was going to do this. Once I pushed the “I suck at this” out of my head, I was able to focus more clearly on my body, my breathing, my movement.
I removed the negative mindset “bad” was putting in my practice and suddenly, the doors opened.
And I did it.
I executed a beautiful, smooth flow and nailed the pose I wanted to do that day. I have it on my camera, and I’ll probably never delete it. It’s my first, genuine, open hearted, quiet minded flow.
I became a BETTER yogi when I left cut ties with the bad.
Suddenly my progress started flowing like water from and opened dam. My balance has improved quicker. Flows that I would avoid because they were just too challenging for my level, no longer seemed impossible. Certain poses that caught my eye before became a part of my daily practice. After months of slow progress with my ustrasana (camel pose), only ever being able to reach my heels with them propped by my flipped feet — I opened my mind, and heart, and found myself being able to bend back with flat feet. Properly doing an unmodified ustrasana. With absolutely zero lean. Proving that my flexibility is coming around. I’ve also found that I am able to bend myself a little tighter. My flows are becoming more and more seamless…
Yes, I still stumble a bit here and there. Lose my footing. Roll off the side of my deck. But I’m not perfect, far from it. I’m also not a bad yogi, I’m just a yogi.