yoga and social media

Am I less of a yoga teacher because I can't handstand?

Recently, I've succumbed to insecurities I thought I was strong enough to avoid.  I blame social media for the nosedive in confidence, and I know I'm not the only yoga teacher who feels this way.  

Here's the deal.  I CAN'T DO A HANDSTAND.  I'm not even close. I recognize that a lot of practice (including but not limited to: creating new neural pathways in my brain, the release of the fear of injury and ego, the increase of flexibility in my shoulders, and the increase of core strength) would be required to get me to the point of handstand freedom.  Alas, I am in handstand tyranny; a place where I feel the pressure to practice but would much rather spend my time drinking coffee with loquacious fellow yoga students and teachers, hiking sun-drenched mountains with my pooch, and traveling to different cultures.  I accept this, but I can't seem to free my mind from the ego hit it takes every time I see a photo of my favourite yogi doing a handstand on Facebook.

Behold!  A highly impressive seated spinal twist!!

Behold!  A highly impressive seated spinal twist!!

Social media has taught me that because of the choices I've made, I will never be a "famous" yogini.  I will never get thousands of followers on Instagram, I will never travel the continent for the sake of leading yoga workshops because society will recognize that I am not as good of a teacher as the instructors who can, in fact, handstand.  

Now I recognize that a lot of you are pissed off reading this, maybe you don't agree with what I'm saying and that's okay.  Or maybe you think I should stop whining and gallivanting and instead put some more time into my practice.  OK, fair, but here's what I've observed: I worked super hard to learn how to do a headstand.  And then, finally, it happened.  The end.  There was no pinnacle moment of enlightenment.  My happiness level did not significantly increase as soon as I learned how to stand on my head.  I learned how to do a pose.  End of story.  Meanwhile, elephants continued to be poached in Africa, there was a political uprising in Syria, and a cruise ship sunk off the coast of Italy.

The conclusion: This is a shout out to all the yogis and yoga instructors who think less of themselves because their practice is not "fancy" or "photo worthy".  It is your choice.  You can do the more challenging postures if you practice, anyone can.  But sometimes you have to practice A LOT.  If this is important to you, go for it.  You can do it!  But if you don't practice, it will likely never happen.  Recognize that this is a choice you make and stand by your decision.  If you spend your free time gardening instead of hand standing, you go girl!  Embrace those flowers!  Your activity is just as worthy!  Ultimately, your practice is perfect, just as it is.  Oh, and so are you:)

Rock on,

l.e. martini