When yoga stops being about kale chips

Just when we thought she couldn’t be any more fabulous… Marilyn Monroe doing yoga…topless. Apparently she was an avid yogini.

When I first started getting in to yoga, I was convinced that I needed to surrender all of my “dirty” habits in order to be a real yogini. I found myself perpetually biting my lip to avoid cursing, being hyper aware of only eating “clean” unprocessed foods, and spending all of my free time browsing the web for kale chip recipes. My wardrobe consisted of yoga pants and headbands that made my ears stick out like Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  I stopped shaving my legs, but that probably had more to do with my laziness than my self-imposed spiritual cleansing. I felt like in order to truly be a zen goddess I essentially had to strip myself of everything that made me, me: vulgar humor, fashion, good food. I didn’t think that these traits were compatible with the yoga life. Then I discovered that the only requirements for being a yogini were being the most honest and authentic version of yourself. K, I can do that.

Coming to terms with the fact that I could drop F-bombs with the best of ‘em, rock obnoxious statement necklaces, and rationalize eating chocolate cake that didn’t require spinach as a secret ingredient, made me fall even more in love with my practice. My mat became a place where I could be me. I could fall. I could cry. I could wear my favorite tye die tank top from 8th grade sleep away camp. It didn’t matter, as long as I remained connected to my natural spirit.

My practice is rooted in the following principles:

  • I am purposeful
  • I am unique
  • I am imperfect
  • I am strong
  • I am willing to challenge myself (physical and mentally)
  • I am peace
  • I am optimistic
  • I am vulnerable
  • I am patient with myself and others
  • I am uninhibited.

Despite what I choose to wear, eat, say, etc. as long as all of my actions support these principles, I’m a total yoga bad ass.

Have you ever felt as though you were limited by self-imposed or societal stereotypes? Discuss!