Phony Yogi Syndrome

Pho·ny

adjective

1) Not genuine; fraudulent

Synonyms: bogus, false, fake, fraudulent, spurious

Yo·gi

noun

1) A person who practices yoga; a follower of Yoga

I hereby self declare on the wide world of the interwebs: I, Christie Jones, am a phony yogi.

Just this past December, I mustered up the courage to do a 23 day “yoga advent challenge” at my local studio after several years of sporadic yoga dabbling. As someone who finds it hard to make it to a physical public yoga class more than once or twice a week (Yoga with Adriene is my go-to girl on YouTube for those times), this was a super big task for me to take on… especially at the busiest time of year. This being said, I set my mind to it, and was one of three ladies who completed the challenge! As proud as I was to have achieved this goal… I couldn’t actually say I was any better at yoga. People kept saying to me: “you must be SO much more flexible now” or “you must feel so much stronger!” to which I would chuckle and reply “not particularly!”. I felt like a phony yogi.

You see, I’ve always been horribly inflexible. And this is a hard trait to admit after dancing for SO many years of my life. As much as I’d like to blame it on the arthritis I got when I was 16, I’ve been stiffer than a board since long before that (or as my lumber jack dad would say: “since before Christ was a cowboy!). This inability to be the “ideal” flexible yogi would all be fine and dandy if I actually took the lessons of yoga to heart, and basically not give a sh*t about how good or bad I am… but can I do that? Nope.

Instead of being in a zone of mass self-transcendence during a class, I find myself looking around the room wondering how the lady in front of me can get her leg behind and over her shoulder like that.

When the class begins with a traditional yogic chant that everyone seems to have memorized, and I just join in on a few “ommmmms” and curiously wonder if they all Youtubed the lyrics to get it down pat.

When I drag my boyfriend to a class once in a blue moon, and he’s casually more flexible and meditative than me after I’ve been practicing every. Single. Day.

When the teacher directs us to go into “happy baby pose” and I sooner resemble a floundering stick woman.

In an ideal world, I would get over my own bullshit so I can soak up all of the fruits of this uber mindful exercise, but I still have a ways to go before that happens.

before-and-after-yoga-meme

And yet… being at the studio makes me happy. Though my progress is painfully slow, its extremely gratifying in the rare moments that I notice I feel a little stronger, or better yet, when somebody else tells me I look a little stronger (sometimes it takes an outside opinion). That while I compare myself to others in the room, I also can’t help but be moved by the vibrations of those same people when they’re singing an opening chant, even if I can only chime in at the occasional “om”.

So… I may not embody what I think a yogi is in my mind, but maybe… that’s okay. And maybe I’m not the only one in the room that feels like a phony yogi too. In truth, there is nothing phony about acknowledging where you’re at (or NOT at) with a little humour, and carrying on with being the true you in the meantime.

Namaste, friends. Namaste.

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