As a young girl loving dance and performance, I danced through much of my free time back then with my Sony Walkman or the jukebox style stereo I had in my room with a disco ball listening to songs mi mama thought to be inappropriate and, in retrospect, the lyrics were so loving and uplifting in comparison to some of what our current generation is exposed to, but I am not going there today. Like many other girls, I had an aspiration to dance and move my body healthily, representing a message of some compelling music.
While enrolled in classical ballet, I imagined combining salsa, mambo y rumba with my plies and tandus, however that was not what I was there for. I was there to learn a technique and I loved to go every Sunday like clockwork. My teacher was beautiful and I admired her grace, strength, and dedication.
When you dance, you must expect to be corrected and instructed on where to go and how to get there, especially in the sense of the schooling of foundational poses. What is not acceptable, then or now, are derogatory statements about being curly and curvy. You see, dancers come in all shapes, shades, and sizes. (Feel free to refer back to Effortless Inspiration to connect the dots.)
At the time, the comments were taken and processed. It was not unusual during those times to label due to difference, as opposed to highlighting the difference while embracing it. The subject would not be broached again until college years when modern dance was explored and loved, yet always with the comments looming internally. As I write this, I realize this topic will require a follow up with more reflection and mindful content, so stay tuned for part two next week.
For today, I would just like to emphasize that, like dancers, yoga teachers come in all shapes, shades, and sizes, and in this world of constant change, the most important aspect for me as a practitioner is the connection made with the teacher, on whatever level you may need at the given moment of your practice. The ability to connect with an instructor on a cellular level comes from within, which can be a challenge for some when we are constantly being pulled outwardly. We are varied in style, demeanor, and protocol but that is what makes your practice so powerful in getting in touch with self, knowing yourself, and caring for yourself so then in turn, you can be there for others in your life.
On your mat, you are able to begin choreographing your journey in a healing, restorative, and loving way. And at times when a self- guided practice is calling you, just go with it because, in essence, your voice is essential to healthy growth and balance no matter what size, shade, or shape you come in.