“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
The other week during an online anatomy class, our teacher showed some skeletal images of peoples hips and pelvis, including the femur (upper leg bone).
It highlighted how, from one body to the next, there is so much variation in everyone’s bone structure. So when you see someone doing a straddle splits (Samakonasana), for example, and your body right now doesn’t allow you to do that, try not to compare yourself to others or be despondent. It could well be that your hip socket, and the way it is designed, doesn’t allow that range of movement, no matter how much you stretch and work on your mobility.
There is a common skeletal structure, but within that structure, there is such uniqueness, which leads me to the teaching of…
CELEBRATE YOUR UNIQUENESS
Why fit in when you were born to stand out!
Yoga is an excellent practice for deep listening and becoming more embodied, feeling; YOUR breath, YOUR body moving in space, noticing YOUR thoughts, and being more connected to the sensations of YOUR muscles, bones, tissues, fluids and skin.
When you work with your body in such a way, you also start to learn where you are more open or tight, what your physical strengths and weaknesses are, and how well you can balance. You’ll also be-friend your thinking, wandering mind and become more aware of your thoughts, gaining greater control over them as opposed to them controlling you.
There is a lot of humility that comes with yoga, particularly in a class situation where others may be doing something that you cannot yet do, or your body will never be able to do. But that humility is a valuable lesson, maybe more valuable than being able to do those straddle splits. When you can acknowledge your limits with grace and celebrate your body exactly how it is, in all its beauty and gloriousness, there comes a sense of grounding, opening, contentment and ease.
All that really matters is how your body feels, how your body moves and what edges you can safely push yourself to without injuring yourself. I know some people are put off thinking they don’t fit the “yoga mould”, but yoga is for everyone. And from your dedication to your personal growth and individual yoga journey comes collective growth, so you showing up to practice and celebrating your uniqueness will inspire others to do the same.
“Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution.”
To help you shift into this ‘full, unconditional, embrace mindset – warts and all’, start by focussing on the positives, celebrate the ways in which your body CAN move and the unique ways it does so. And don’t stop there. Celebrate your individuality: personality, skillset, character strengths, knowledge, creative mind, or mathematical mind, your eye for beauty or attention to detail. It’s quite amazing to think among the 7.9 billion people on this planet, none of us are identically the same. We each have our own fingerprint and the opportunity to make an individual imprint and impact in the world. Step into YOUR shoes and step up.
“Your personal growth is the only thing that matters. You own and write your story; no one else does. Believe in your unique steps up the mountain.”
Do YOU! Be true to YOURSELF. For comparison is the thief of joy.
Everyone has their own song to sing and story to tell, so try celebrating other people’s uniqueness as well. Whenever I feel this is hard to do, all I have to do is think of a world full of people exactly like me, which is a freaky thought, and I’m reminded of the importance of diversity.
“Absurdity and anti—absurdity are the two poles of creative energy.” Karl Lagerfeld
Shine your unique light, encourage others to shine theirs and let’s light up this world together.