We strive for perfection. That’s built into us by our schooling, our upbringing, our culture and society. We come in to class and pour our bodies into shapes we’ve seen in magazines, posters, in youtube videos, and in the demonstrations by teachers we look up to. And we want our postures, asana, to be perfect!
But when it comes to yoga, what does it mean to have a perfect posture or asana?
Everyone’s bodies are built differently. We have different proportions, different ranges of motion. Some of us are stronger and have sturdier muscles. Some of us are softer and are more flexible. Our bodies have different gifts and along with that: different challenges.
There are certain issues of alignment, certain goals with each posture, and we must proceed with awareness of how to place the parts of the body in a way that is nourishing and supportive. We move to work certain areas, to open and balance. These principles are important to observe and practice.
Perfection, however, is not in the posture but in the practice. If you practice with presence, with love and awareness, if you breath full and even breaths, if you create the opportunity for the body to feel itself steady and easy, then no matter what your posture looks like at that moment, it is already perfect.
The truth is that what the posture looks like doesn’t matter as much as the effort in which we hold and move ourselves. And as our bodies change, what is perfect changes too. Such is practice, such is life.
Photo: Hala in downward facing dog, La Zone, Maadi, Cairo.