Let me be clear: I was fortunate. One of the lucky ones. I was young, pretty, fit and already stretchy when I entered my first class. Even though I was incredibly self-critical, I was able to tolerate (barely) my mind and body for an hour. It wasn't excruciating to look at myself in the mirror. I was nowhere near perfect, but I definitely was within the "profile" of the yoga-type-person.
But, that just isn't the case for many of us. Some of us are older, more rigid. Some of us are hurt or sick. Some of us are carrying so much weight that even sitting hurts. Some of us are carrying so much shame, that a mirror is simply too much to bear.
If this sounds familiar, I want you to know, that yoga is not lost to you.
My students often ask me how I "grew myself up," a phrase that we use to describe the maturing process between emotional childhood and emotional adulthood. They want to know how to stop feeling helpless or dependent; how to release themselves from feeling inferior and insecure, and how to let go of childish entitlement issues.
My answer involves this garden story from a few years ago. Not because this is a story about what emotional adulthood looks like. On the contrary, this is a story about just how deep the crazy runs when we are acting like emotional children.
You may already know this by looking at me, but I'm going to set the record straight just in case... I ain't no Betty Crocker. I grew up in an era of Campbell's tomato soup, technicolored slices of American cheese, bologna sandwiches (white bread + mayo) and green Jell-O casseroles. We had Twinkies or Ding Dongs for dessert and we drank milk or Kool-Aid if we were thirsty. It was glorious. We only needed three tools for cooking: a can opener, a microwave and a spoon.