Perfectly Imperfect – a yoga story

image of women in water

A perfectly imperfect yoga story. With a strong desire to deepen my yoga practice, I applied to do Hot Yoga Teacher Training. Excited and overjoyed to be accepted into the training, I set off with stars in my eyes, a yoga mat under my arm and a pair of skinny yoga pants {with a muffin top} I was ready for the next stage in my human development.

I had no idea what I was in for. I was blinded by the love, peace & “we are all humans changing the world through yoga” aesthetic.

Ungluing the stars from my eyes and blindly slipping down a short but bumpy slope was the easy bit. But, at the risk of mixing my metaphors, I became stranded in an ocean of confusion.

The best way I could describe it {brace yourself, there’s another metaphor coming} was this way.

I felt like I was in a small rowboat in the middle of a vast ocean. I can’t see any land, and I am rowing around in circles; every time I catch a glimpse of the promised land and begin to paddle towards it, it disappears. I am left rowing around feeling sorry for myself and losing hope, faith, confidence and trust in my decision.

I had become a yoga learner

I lost all sense of where & who I was. I felt consciously incompetent at everything, which brought every biased illusion I had about my passion for yoga, my body, my mind, and old stories about learning. {school based ones} I believed some of them and allowed myself to buy into others … you get the picture? In fact, at one stage, I was actively promoting the illusions. You know, just to get in first. It’s a dangerous practice ‘cos then everyone believes you, and it’s hard to turn it around. (see learnings below)

It felt safer to be self-deprecating because there was nothing safe about the landscape I was navigating. I felt exposed and vulnerable, measured, judged & left wanting. I lived in the land of comparisons, and it was unrelenting.

Yet, I was right where I needed to be. The complete beginner, the learner, the dweeb. The tension of holding such a story was manically intense. I thought aliens had taken over my brain. So In true human fashion, I blamed others and unknowingly defaulted to a revealing set of behaviours to feel better about myself. It didn’t seem to work, dammit, except for one thing.

image of yoga woman

Like a secret admirer, my yoga practice loved me quietly unnoticed as I leaned into being the learner. Whatever needed to be spilled out, my mat mopped it up as my body/mind let go. The tension, stress and inverted thinking began to lose their grip, asana by asana, breath by breath. Finally, it got me through to a defining moment where it all came together, yoga body knowledge + yoga intelligence, and a clear understanding that yin was my particular superpower, not vinyasa or hot yoga.

I took a risk; I followed a dream. A dream that asked that I leave behind being the “expert” in my particular field. Damn hard work, especially since I wasn’t in the club of the “well-seasoned YogaBeing with a century of practice behind her” My work throughout this training was to acknowledge that I knew very little. And be OK with that. It took work of the deep inner kind. Fear, low self-esteem, and an inability to grasp the learning style we were being taught in featured a lot in my dynamic. Which then pushed me into survival behaviours.

It hurt plenty and created intense interpersonal projections from me to others and others to me.

BUT, years later, I can say they are ones I am grateful for because out of them came learning.

  • Discovery of even more places I sacrifice my integrity, knowing & power to be loved, liked or acknowledged.
  • Needing/wanting to be right is war.
  • When I stay with my heart, I am more alive and connected.
  • Heart centred leadership is transformational.
  • I can very quickly sell myself short when I am not feeling confident or out of my depth.
  • I discovered my “why” was what got me through.
  • Confidence cannot be assumed; it is an embodied, felt sense.
  • Asanas are NOT the be-all and end-all; they are but a doorway through which my breath carries me into the unknown.
  • I love guiding yoga, specifically yin.

There’s more, but let’s cut to the Happy Ever After part because all heroine tales have an ending, and this is my one.

I graduated. End of story, almost.

Kind of. My Dad came to my graduation; at that time, he was 75 years old, wise and worldly, with a few fixed views. I said to him, “Dad, I’m just going to warn you, there may be some weirdness, like chanting, a different kind of language, OK? So just go along with it and enjoy the ride. It’ll be a bit different to any other “thing” you’ve been to.”

I forgot he’s a freemason and high up with the whole ritual/sacredness of His practice … My mind was on; what would he think? His daughter is doing weird shit again!

Me? with the weird shit, anyway, I digress.

At the end of the night, as he was saying goodbye, we hugged, and he whispered in my ear, “Congratulations, I’m proud of you, well done” It was a moment in our relationship like no other …