The Kind of Person who Does Yoga: On Self-Awareness
I wake up at 6am, fully alert. I walk into my sunlit kitchen, and make coffee. My hair looks great. While coffee brews, I sit down to a 30 minute meditation session, followed by an hour of yoga. Then, I work for several hours writing, planning my through hike on the Appalachian trail, talking to agents, community organizing. I only drink herbal tea past 10am. I inexplicably love salads. I understand and appreciate why Snapchat is a thing.
I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago, and we were discussing the things that we feel like we “should” be doing in our lives. Getting up early, being more productive, drinking tea, doing yoga. But the truth is, we realized, is that we don’t really want to do those things. At least, not all of the time.
I don’t want to do yoga. I want to be the kind of person who does yoga. Somehow, I imagine that people who do yoga must magically have their shit together. They have a practice. They commit to something important. They’re bendier than me. Sometimes I even think that I’ll take up yoga. I go to a class, or find a video online. I enjoy it, most of the time. But, next week I’m skipping class and watching reruns of Star Trek instead.
I used to feel guilty about it, and I’m not opposed to self-improvement, but I’m committing to stop imagining myself as some mythological person and investing more time embodying who I really am. I’m not great at yoga. But rage-walking while listening to the Dixie Chicks? That I can get behind.
The thing that I’m realizing about should-ing all over yourself is that it’s this weird form of navel-gazing dressed up like self-improvement. Very few things that I imagine that I “might” be are outwardly focused. They’re all about me. What I need. What I want. How I want to be perceived. If American culture invested as much time working to improve the lives of others as much as we work to improve our own self-interest, we could move mountains. Transform lives. Hell, even have universal healthcare.
So I’m trying this new practice. A practice of focusing my capacity for grace outward. A practice of maintaining boundaries, but not spending so much time thinking inwardly. A practice of sitting still with my real self, imperfections and all. A practice of investing more in other people. And maybe even doing yoga once in awhile.