We Are All Extraordinary Yogis ~ Elephant Journal Article

Lately I have seen a lot of amazing videos and some pretty incredible pictures of my friends and colleagues’ doing crazy wonderful yoga poses.  Beautiful as they are, I have to confess that my heart often aches with the realization that for many, this is the only “yoga” that they see.  

Truth is, it is a lot harder to capture the day to day, off the mat, real life yoga that most of us do.   

Would it not be just as inspiring if a photographer could take a picture of the exhausted new mom, using deep breaths to navigate the grocery store as her snot nosed toddler kicks and screams and she does the miraculous yoga of not loosing her cool? Or what if they could capture an image of the women in line next to her, who doesn’t hide her tears and smiles freely at that toddler while she simultaneously grieves the loss of her own?

Where are the sparkling instagram images of the thirty something woman, lonely but mindful, as she washes dishes, goes to work and waits for love?  I also have yet to see a poetic and inspired video about staying true to your dharma, even if it means barely paying the bills.  Couldn't we all learn something about the kind of yoga that allows the young mother, who just found out she might have a rare and fatal disease, to not tell her family and calmly wait a week for the results?   

Do we show enough respect for the once loving couple that, as devoted as they are to the little guru that hold in their arms, can hardly recognize themselves or each other due to the lack of sleep, and the pressure of trying to be good parents?   

Why are we not celebrating the yoga of the hard working single mom, gracefully dealing with her impossibly irresponsible ex?  Or last years college graduate who is still smiling even though she is way too overqualified and underemployed?  What about the grey haired father of four who lost all his money in a bad investment, but never lost his faith? 

I cannot imagine a more challenging practice than that of a mother loosing a child, or a spouse who tenderly holds the hand of their beloved while they watch them waste away.  

The stories are endless and the stories are true.  We are all yogis in the playing field of life.  Lovely pictures or not, the most profound yoga we do, usually does not happen when we are standing on our heads or when someone is snapping pictures. When you live your life with presence and grace, it no longer matters who is watching.



Kirsten Warner