Four years ago, I felt my calling from the mountaintops of Wanderlust Vermont. It was there that I knew I wanted to become a yoga teacher.
I wasn’t drawn to the one-armed handstands or the yoga on top of picnic tables; I was drawn to the quality of the people, to the authenticity of their smiles and to hugging a stranger just because she shared the same first name as me. It was magic. It was, in my mind, yoga.
Now yogis are called to do 30-day challenges, persuaded to take a picture of our “practice” every day in hopes of winning yoga pants and then asked to take another picture in a different pose in the yoga pants we just won. Yoga is so silly.
That said, social media has been an incredible tool for me, though I post pictures of myself all the time. But in essence, none of my pictures are of my practice—my practice is continuous.
And there’s so much story behind most of my pictures. I couldn’t possible get it all into in. It isn’t just learning to use the dharma wheel this week; it’s learning to use the dharma wheel and then taking time to be of service to the person who gave me the opportunity to practice with the wheel. It’s not just about the handstand; it’s the story behind the tradition of the inversion that requires us to put our hearts above our heads instead of leading through the world with our heads above our hearts, our minds completely controlling us along with our thoughts and emotions.
I’ll promise you this: realizing that there’s so much more to yoga than postures is an incredible gift. These people you see on social media—we have stories to share, philosophies to be spoken of, songs to be chanted and prayers to be said.
It was incredibly freeing to realize that the most “advanced” yogis are the ones with the purest hearts, the ones who would drop it all to listen, to give advice and to be supportive of my wildest dreams. And it was incredibly freeing to realize that in the end, a rat is still a rat—and a man or woman who can press up on his or her fingertips may just be a trapped soul waiting to learn and be guided on along the path, or he or she may in fact be the purest of souls.
Practice living yoga. Practice the path that makes you feel like you’re more than a tight hamstring, a headstand, or the perfect shavasana. Practice serving yourself in such a way that you can’t help but to serve those around you. Fall in love with this life. It’s so sweet… and it’s so much more than a performance. It’s a freaking life dance!
Author: Katie Collins
Editor: Evan Yerburgh