Honest Yoga (a. k. a. Get Some Freaking Perspective)

I've been kicking around the idea for this blog post for a while, ever since a friend posted an exasperated Facebook status about how it's all well and good for yoga teachers to tell us to honor our bodies and celebrate their differences, but all we see on social media are young skinny things putting their feet behind their heads and doing handstands on the beach. Where are the everyday dudes who can't touch their toes, she wondered.

I, too, have had it up to here with yoga photos on social media, especially on Instagram. A quick scroll through on any given day will yield inversion after inversion, and not just the "basic" ones. I used to think I was cool for being able to do a headstand or kick up into a handstand up against the wall. Pfft. Now, cool is a no-handed headstand and a press up into handstand from an arm balance. And then there are the ridiculous displays of flexibility. They make me hurt just looking at them. Join the circus, ya freak.

And let's not forget the yoga challenges on Instagram, where the hosts offer a pose each day, and participants follow suit with their own pic of said pose labeled with the appropriate hashtag. I did them for a little while. I didn't really care about winning a prize from one of the sponsors; I just thought they'd be fun and get me to practice poses I might not otherwise try. But there would always come a time where a certain day's pose was just not happening. I wasn't strong or flexible enough yet or a combination of both. And I'm a little ashamed to admit that sometimes I lost my shit over it. I'd compare myself to all the 20-something pretzel types. That's when I knew I had to stop. 

Now I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with yoga selfies or Instagram yoga challenges. So much of what I see I think is truly beautiful - the shape of the human body as art. But for the vast majority of us yoga practitioners, those perfect poses are not reality and probably never will be. So I decided to offer you a little perspective and show you some of my yoga selfies that are less than amazing. With each I've included a link for comparison that shows someone who could be on the cover of Yoga Journal and whom I might want to punch just a little bit. The struggle is real, y'all.

This one's called compass pose. You can tell by the fake smile on my face how much I'm enjoying it.  Here's what it's supposed to look like , from a lady whose smile says to me, "I could stay here all day, bitches, and my armpit smells like a rose!" instead of, "I'm dying!"

This one's called compass pose. You can tell by the fake smile on my face how much I'm enjoying it. Here's what it's supposed to look like, from a lady whose smile says to me, "I could stay here all day, bitches, and my armpit smells like a rose!" instead of, "I'm dying!"

This one's called king pigeon pose. I'm supposed to be  touching my toes to my head . Yeah. 

This one's called king pigeon pose. I'm supposed to be touching my toes to my head. Yeah. 

If you've enjoyed seeing me look inadequate, never fear - I've got PLENTY more to share! Stay tuned. And keep it real.