I hate this pose.

Those words “I hate this pose” released from the mouth of one of my students. The comment wasn’t made in jest; it spewed out with toxic force. I continued guiding the class through the power flow series as planned. I couldn’t get her words out of my head. I knew her comment wasn’t directed at me or anyone else, but it ignited a flame that encouraged me to dig deeper within myself. The student thanked me for class and was full of smiles and positive energy as we departed from the studio. Why did she “hate” the pose? Practicing alongside this student for the past few months, I was aware that her frustration didn’t stem from pain or injury.

 I was forced to turn inward and ask myself what postures I dislike in my personal practice, and therefor tend to dodge when teaching. I thought about our human tendency to shy away from what is not perfect. Not only what we avoid on the mat; but in life.

As adults, we often avoid situations and challenges if we don’t think we will succeed. The older we get, the more we seek perfection. We tend to create ideals and do everything in our power to find what we perceive as perfection. I try to remind my students in each practice, that just because we’ve moved through a posture or sequence before, we cannot have expectations. Every morning when we wake up, we don’t know what we are waking up to. Our bodies can be full of aches and pains, or, hopefully we wake up feeling vibrant and energized. Either way, it’s crucial that we find a little gratitude from within for being well enough to arrive on our mats.

No one is flawless. That’s what makes our world so imperfectly perfect. We meld together all of our strengths and weaknesses; physically, spiritually and emotionally to find strength within ourselves and within each other.