Follow Your Dharma

If you checked out my blog post from February, Honest Yoga (a. k. a. Get Some Freaking Perspective), you may remember that I sometimes find Instagram annoying.

If you follow any yoga profiles at all, you are constantly bombarded with skinny, white 20-somethings doing handstands on the beach and putting their feet behind their heads. It’s enough to drive any “mere mortal” yoga practitioner crazy.

And if you’re a type-A yoga teacher like me, you’d better be meditating and pranayama-ing like Buddha when you scroll through your feed, because you literally can’t even with the alignment sometimes.

Every once in a blue moon, one of these handstanding hooligans with a gazillion followers will post a picture of something “basic” like triangle, and that’s when I say “no” (usually out loud) and unfollow them. (Insert Jean-Luc Picard facepalm gif here.)

Girl, get your skinny butt to my class so I can adjust the hell out of that pitiful pose.

What’s a yoga teacher supposed to do?

We know we’re supposed to be all up in social media because that’s the thing to do these days to “grow our business.” But lately, that has led me to think, “What IS my business?”

Flashback to my yoga teacher training. As part of our study, we had to read, discuss, and write about the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu text.

Now if you’re going to get your panties in a wad about yoga and religion, just stop right there because that’s a blog post for another day. I can only be annoyed about one thing at a time. Focus!

Let me just say that I had a hard time getting through the Gita the first time. For sure, yoga philosophy is NOT my “business.” The language is all weird, and they never just come right out and tell you the lesson directly, preferring to make you wade through pages and pages first.

One of the lessons I did eventually get out of it was the idea of “dharma,” which in a nutshell means, the work that you are meant to do by your very nature. And it goes on to instruct that “One’s own dharma, performed imperfectly, is better than another’s dharma well performed.”

If you prefer Western sources, a related quote from another hard to understand text goes, “To thine own self be true.”

So again, if you read my Honest Yoga blog post and saw those pictures, it is glaringly obvious that being a bikini-clad, handstanding, backbending Instagram yoga star is NOT my dharma. I’m about 20 years and a twin-momma-belly too late for that.

Realizing this has been so freeing!

I can now scroll through that stuff and just say, “That is not me. That is not my work.” It also helps me not get as annoyed with those beautiful bendy young things because just maybe they are following the shit out of their own dharma.

Carry on, circus freaks.

I KNOW what my dharma is. Teaching. I know it when I get down on the floor in class next to a student who is trying a new arm balance, and I tell her to kick her leg towards me. I know it when she says she can’t, and I tell her yes, she can, just do it, AND SHE DOES IT.

We both hear angels singing. THAT is my dharma, bitches.

The moral of this story: be you. Do you. Follow your dharma.