Celebrate Your Unique Perfection
In this one hour yin yoga class we will focus on skeletal bone variation and honour your unique bone structure through the principles of yin as part of our yoga series on Perfectionism. This yin yoga class will focus on the liver and gallbladder meridians with long holds in butterfly, sleeping pigeon using a wall, bananasana and shoelace with a twist. All poses will be interspersed with savasana to feel the flow of qi through your body.
You may have perfectionist tendencies if you have excessive concern with details, you are extremely devoted to work and productivity at the expense of leisure, you are excessively conscientious, you are thrifty, you are inflexible and rigid when it comes to morals and ethics, or you are reluctant to delegate tasks or relinquish control. However, as we learned last week, perfectionism is the result of the culture and families we grew up in, so we do not need to be perfectionist about our perfectionism.
To a perfectionist, life is often either perfect or imperfect, right or wrong, good or bad, but we are often comparing reality as it exists to some imagined better reality. I think many of us can relate to the tendency of comparing our current experience to some imaginary better experience. This is so common in the world of yoga which has been coopted by the image-rich world of media and social media. Everywhere we turn there are “perfect” women performing “perfect versions of yoga postures that we naturally compare our experience of yoga in general and poses specifically with.
It is no wonder that the success of our yoga experience becomes equated with failure and no wonder that we never feel successful. We perceive our reality comparing it against what it is NOT rather than to our present moment experience. On the one hand, you want to accept yourself, but on the other, you are afraid endlessly stuck and never capable of change in your body.
One of the reasons why I love yin yoga so much is that it acknowledges something called skeletal variation. Skeletal variation means that each one of us is unique, both in the length and shape of our bones and the way our bones fit in our joints. What does this mean for those of us pining after extreme backbends, forward bends, and hip openers? It means that often our bones are limiting our movement into poses, not our lack of flexibility. I hope that reality check lets you off the hook.
Skeletal variation is one way that we can offer ourselves ongoing acceptance, nonjudgmental and non comparison. We can constantly judge ourselves against what is, what should be (in our minds) and what could be, but in reality, we might just have a bone structure that is never going to allow a certain pose to be in our body.
Unless you compare your pose to somebody else’s pose, you have no basis for judgement. To conclude that your pose is substandard you have to be comparing your experience of a pose, in this moment in time, to something you deem to be the standard, be all and end all for all time.
Skeletal variation allows us to find acceptance. Acceptance that each one of us is different, unique and our own perfect selves. You have to feel from the inside how the posture feels for you. That is why we spend so much time with the principles of yin: choosing the appropriate edge, softening, being still and staying for awhile.
Acceptance is witnessing your own unique experience without comparison and acknowledges your experience just as it is. Your experience will be unique and different from anybody else. Celebrate the uniqueness of your experience. It is part of the ordinary perfectionism of all that is.
Resource: Present Perfect Samov Pavel