“Be Yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde
Nearly three and a half years after Briohny Smyth’s now infamous “The Contortionist”, Equinox released a new video of a yogi flowing seamlessly from advanced pose to advanced pose. It is beautiful. The strength and prowess are astonishing, yet my immediate reaction was one of self-centered deprecation. I can’t flow like that. How can I call myself a yoga teacher? For a moment, it was like all the spiritual and psychological work I do went out the window where my reactive mind stood holding up a boombox a la John Cusack in Say Anything blasting the old song: “You are not good enough and you will never be good enough”. I think we all have a copy of that tape somewhere.
And then I took a breath and the wise heart reminded me that I am not Briohny. I am not Dylan Werner. I am Sarah Ezrin. I am who I am. Each of our journeys is unique. I may never be able to transition from an arm balance into an inversion and that is okay. I am on my own path. Every single one of us is! Being our self means knowing who we are. And I am a yoga teacher. I am not an acrobat.
Growing up I was neither a gymnast nor dancer nor frankly that athletic until I started practicing yoga. Sure I took ballet for Physical Education, but that was precisely so I didn’t have to run track (shudder). My body can do incredible thing; I have worked very hard through a daily Ashtanga practice. But the most amazing is something we all do every morning: open the eyes and take a breath.
When I first started teaching I worried that I would not be successful, because I could not handstand flawlessly in the center of the room. A lot of teacher training students suffer the same distorted thinking. Yoga is many things to many people, but I think we all agree that the main objective is to quiet the mind. Some find solace by balancing on their hands, others sitting on a cushion. The method varies per person and are we not blessed to have so many options of getting to the goal? P.S. I still cannot hold handstand in the middle of the room, but that has not stopped me from teaching all over the world.
If we live from a place of comparison we limit our own potential. Trying to fit into someone else’s mold is actually confining, as the parameters are set. Be yourself and the possibilities are endless. It is no myth that we can do and be anything we set our minds to. It is just a matter of how we choose to view this life. Do you see it from a place of scarcity and limitation? Or abundance and opportunity? Let others in your field be inspiring! Because no matter how successful or talented they may be, they will never be you.
Originally posted on Yoganonymous April 16, 2015