What made you think it would be easy?

Week one into yoga teacher training, and I’m high on information overload.

In addition to studying the philosophical foundations of yoga, breath, and meditation, we work on learning the proper alignment, benefits, and foundations of each yoga pose (asana). Going through each asana in such a diligent way means reassessing my own skill level and dismantling any bad habits I’ve developed in myself over the years. As we talk each other into poses, and offer assistance, both physically and verbally to adjust within the position, a familiar little seed of doubt has been poking through in my mind.

You’re not good enough at this. You’re not as advanced as the others. You shouldn’t be here yet.

Impostor syndrome has that funny way of showing up in the places where you least expect it. I do yoga to ease my mind and get away from those self-deprecating thoughts. So what’s it doing in the yoga studio at 3 o’clock on a Sunday?

Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma, but competition in another’s dharma breeds fear and insecurity.

The Baghavad Gita

Perhaps everyone has to have this realization at some point, but hitting the perfect pose isn’t the point. It’s the process of going slowly, building, breathing, and remaining aware of your own progress that’s most meaningful. The second I take my eyes off everyone else’s mat — or work, or paintings, or photography — and place them firmly on my own, I feel lighter and more dedicated.

In Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace wrote, “…you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.” My goal over the next few weeks is to compare myself to myself only, while simultaneously freeing myself from my expectations around results. It makes the process so much more enjoyable, and there’s absolutely no way to fail when there’s no finish line.

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