My yoga isn’t always graceful and I’m not too concerned with getting the perfect yoga photo either, sometimes it happens to look good but I don’t spend ages wasting my time (& my partner’s) trying to get the perfect Insta image. In the beginning, I thought I should be ‘perfect’ because that is all you see in most of the yoga community- bendy, graceful women spurting out words of wisdom.
If my body can ever achieve such perfect grace, it will take me my whole life to get to that point, because whilst practicing yoga IS a journey, lets be real here- not everyone grew up with parents pouring money into ballet and gymnastic classes for them from the age of three.
I grew up in a poor family and all I ever wanted was to be a dancer, my mother could not afford to pay for me to attend a professional dance school, I did not have that privilege and so I would attempt to copy Shakira and Aaliyah on MTV- hence why I became a belly dancer from the age of 15- I’m largely self taught. Dance training just wasn’t a reality to a kid like me, there wasn’t even a community centre available where I lived. so I used to hide in my bedroom creating art and learning how to belly dance. My family was so poor I used old makeup brushes as paint brushes to create my paintings and an old scarf as a hip belt!
Fast forward to 2017 and I’m now a practicing yogi (of 5 years) and teacher but I’m no way near as flexible and beautiful in my practice as the women who’ve spent their entire childhood training in Ballet and Gymnastics and thus can easily mold into an advanced yoga pose or flow like water, and attain thousands of followers because of how they appear on instagram. I’m not dissing these women, I’m just keeping it real.
You can slide into a sensual split on the beach or kitchen floor in your Lululemons whilst preaching to us mere mortals some yogic life lesson to live by but then are you being authentic, are you using your privilege to help others and give back to the community? Not everyone on this journey has been given over 10, 15 years of after school privilege to attain such supple bodies. Some of us will continue to be awkward, ungraceful, fall on our faces & be proud we got this far all by ourselves and become freaking amazing, humble teachers who teach that yoga is not about attaining that beautiful, perfect body, but that Yoga asana practice is mean’t to be playful and challenging in order to still the mind in preparation for seated meditation- which is why after your practice, Savasana is so important.
Some yogis on here who’ve had that privileged upbringing, preach being humble and talk about practicing authentically but really they don’t have a clue what those words truly mean. Do these yogis in their pretty (sponsored) outfits teach in homeless shelters or to kids from broken homes- to actually help others with their talents? Or do they sit like a pretzel in their beautiful, middle class, designer home, quoting some crap about being real in the hope their thousands of followers will gush at them? It’s easy when you’ve had it easy, it’s easy to look like a pro at a yoga asana practice when you’ve never had to give up hobbies or passions to put food on the table. This is for the single parent yogis who still get on their mat to watch a free yoga YouTube tutorial or for the homeless teenager trying to attend community yoga class & the kid who can only spare 5 minutes of meditation because they’re caring for a sick parent.
I know myself enough to know that if I ever attain such yogic stardom because of my advanced practice and youthful body, I’ll give back, I’ll create a foundation, I’ll offer free spaces in my class to those who are struggling, if I ever run teacher trainings I’ll provider scholarships and I’d want to be that teacher who loves everybody, to help out in the soup kitchens, to help teens in the PRU Unit (Pupil Referal Unit), to offer yoga in forest therapy schools and so much more. I won’t just prance about in my tight yoga leggings, drinking Kombucha & preaching some bullshit mantra. I want to be out in the real world, actually guiding & healing real people- because isn’t that what authentic yoga is all about?
*As a side note: For my birthday my partner gifted me with my first ever pair of rain boots this is special to me because I’ve never owned my own wellies due to growing up in a poor, single parent family. My mother worked full time and raised my sister and I all by herself. Sometimes she couldn’t afford heating or electricity. I’m thankful for this upbringing though as I learned to be humble and grateful from an early age- being given chocolate cookies on rare occasions was something to cherish! That’s how poor we were, so I missed out on a comfortable childhood. It’s made me pretty tough as an adult and super grateful for thoughtful gifts or kindness towards me, which in turn has inspired me to be real, kind and loving, especially to the down trodden. My tough upbringing has inspired me to work with kids & teens from turbulent backgrounds or who suffer from emotional trauma-using yoga, dance and art as healing tools. I’ll be their rain boots when the storm hits.
In the photo these are my beautiful Rain boots by Demar