On ballerinas in yoga.
There were two in my teacher training: a rising star felled by a career-ending injury and her childhood teacher, a tiny woman with gray hair.
The older woman didn’t trigger me at all; the younger one was another story.
Strong yet demure, a mix of wounded and warrior, her poses outshone us all. Before our training ended, she had launched her own studio and even coined her own sequence.
She was regal and the brightness of her star singed me.
When four ballerinas attended my class earlier this month, I felt a twinge of the old envy. Oh, those long, sculpted calves—that impossible flexibility.
As a child, I wanted to be a ballerina.
But I lacked the discipline, coordination and confidence to pursue my dream, not to mention the God-given gifts.
Yoga is the pinnacle of my body’s art.
Most of the time, I’m okay with that—and I’m old enough to understand that beauty brings its own baggage. None of us pirouettes through life unscathed.
Still, ballerinas trigger me. And so does the Yogi Muse, in nearly every article. Though I want to believe we are nothing alike, it can’t be true. Otherwise, her words would wick off me rather than stick like burrs.
Same with ballerinas. Every cell in my body longs to leap and soar with beauty and grace, to free my inner diva to the tune of a standing ovation. Rather than celebrating the beauty and skill of such gifted creatures, I feel dragged down by a comparison only I am making.
Finding my way and honoring my heart is my business. Worrying about how others do the same—whether on the stage or the page—is merely a distraction and a drain.
So, I’m kneading the bitter knot in my heart, trying to soften where it’s tight. Questioning why something or someone triggers me rather than reacting in distaste and judgment.
It’s challenging work that won’t be finished in this lifetime.
But it’s the only path that can help me truly soar.
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta
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