I’ve recently come to a realization: I’m average. I’m a size medium, an 8 1/2 in the shoe department, average height, average weight, and when it comes to my yoga practice? Well…
I’ve been practicing yoga for six years now, and teaching for almost two. In that time my practice has evolved, but it’s also hit some definite walls. Compared to other people, I have never been the most flexible, and teacher training was a drastic example of how outclassed I was in the bendy department. Add to that the general expectation of what a yoga instructor should look like and be able to demonstrate, the constant Instagram challenges, popular YouTube channels, and article after article of asanas that other people make look natural, and it’s easy to come to the conclusion that there’s nothing phenomenal or interesting about my practice. I’m average.
It wouldn’t get to me so much if I didn’t feel like “average” was a four-letter word. In the studio and online, everyone needs a hook; something to make them stand out, draw attention, and gain followers. You don’t see people boasting about working to maintain their less-than perfect body. No one posts a picture in upavista konasana (wide legged straddle) where they’re struggling to lean forward. So, with my practice where it is, and my body what it is, what the hell do I have to offer?
First thing I can offer that that voice of doubt inside is a resounding response of, Shut the hell up. The fear of being unextraordinary, of being average is, well, normal. But it’s also unnecessary. What I am on paper may be average, but a person is more than a dot on the bell curve. I am not my inability to stick a handstand. YOU are not your arbitrary failures, or plateaus.
That’s where this site comes in to play. I wanted to create The Average Yogi as a place for people feeling stuck, frustrated, or down to find joy. The truth is, you are not alone in feeling less than brilliant. But you are brilliant. You are the culmination of a lifetime’s worth of learning, work, setbacks, habits, likes, dislikes, workouts, Wine Wednesdays, and everything in between.
A year and a half ago, I broke my wrist and elbow. Two years ago, I couldn’t do a headstand. Five years ago? Knee surgery. Six years ago and I couldn’t even touch my toes. Take a moment to look back through your practice and realize how far you’ve come. Your own personal progress is extraordinary. Don’t dismiss it.
The moral of the story is simple – average is just a label. It’s only discouraging if we let it be. It’s dismissive of the amazing, complex person and yoga practitioner you are. My goal, in my life and on this site, is to reclaim that word. I hope to turn average into something not to be dismissed. Embrace the extraordinary, ordinary, complex, historied person that averages out to be you.
The Average Yogi