Judgment and Yoga

I roll out my mat to be healthier and more relaxed–then judgment comes. At some point I hit a wall of tight hamstrings, weak legs, and the old repetitive blinding confrontation of my own body’s limitations. Once I start to really breathe, the stiffness dissipates and so does the judgment. My mat is very heavy somedays and my ugliness can be glaring.

Judgment is the denial of what is real. Self-judgment is the idea that I should be anything but what I am right now. Judgement is devision, yoga is union. In judgment my tight hamstrings become a failure to be the idealized loose yogi. “I’ve done yoga for ten years! My hamstrings should be looser than this! I’m not a yogi!”

Being conscious of my own judgment in my private practice is difficult. In all the studio classes I’ve taken, no one has ever sat  down next to me in a yoga class and said, “God… your hamstrings are tight and you kind of have a belly, are you sure you should be here?” If someone did, I think it would be fair to say that they are a total jackass.

So why do I say this to myself? Should all yoga teachers be able to put their feet behind their head? Should every yogi be flexible and able to touch their toes?

No. Just unroll the mat and breathe. That’s the practice.


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