Sometimes I wonder if it’d better to try yoga with no knowledge of what a pose is “supposed” to look like. That way, you can explore each pose as you would a new city or a new food — learning its intricacies and delighting in its novelty.
Instead, I sometimes find myself fixated on a pose’s “fullest expression,” or the most advanced version. When this happens, the pose ceases to be fun or relaxing; neither can it ever be fulfilling on its own, since it always falls short. Rather than leading me toward a peaceful state, the pose invites struggle, disappointment, and perhaps even injury.
An Instagram yogi I follow named @benditlikelacy helped me articulate a feeling I knew needed to infuse my practice. She wrote that the fullest expression of a pose is not necessarily the most advanced version, but the fullest version in her body on any given day. I love this point of view! It allows me to be content with where I am each day.
In the picture above, you will see me in a version bhujapidasana. Though it’s pretty challenging, I still catch hints of disappointment that it isn’t the most difficult variation. I have been changing my outlook though. I can appreciate now that my version is not the
most advanced version, but it’s the version I can do after an hour of stretching and strength building. The pose is deeply satisfying — not because of how it looks, but because of how it feels in my body. Some days bhujapidasana doesn’t happen for me at all, and I’m learning to find satisfaction in that too.
I encourage you to find peace in your practice. Give yourself permission to fall short, and to believe that flourishing extravagantly may look different from the picture in your head. Embrace the fullest expression of your practice, whether that means you’re standing on your head or spending thirty minutes in savasana. I’ll be journeying right along with you!