Yoga: Mind Your Own Business (or keep your mind on your mat!)

Lateefah Felmeing of empowerfit wellness practicing yoga with a positive mindset that focuses on her work and not the work of others.


I hurt myself in yoga class.  Yes, if you do it wrong it hurts.  Really bad.  So bad I did not lift weights for my upper body for about 2 months.  That’s a really big deal for me.  It’s hard when you can’t move like you are used to moving. And, lifting weights is so therapeutic for me.  Weights and yoga…that’s my OM!

Back to my hurt….

The right way to do yoga is to show up on your mat, let go of expectations and release that competitive ego.  You have to let go of that shit.  Or you will hurt yourself.  Back to that again.  I hurt myself in yoga class and that shit hurt.

Back in the beginning of my practice, once I finally decided I wasn’t going to let the extremely skinny bodies around me dictate how I am going to look at myself or approach my practice, I started to focus on how good my body felt.  The more I stayed focused on what was happening on my mat, the more I progressed.  The more I decided it didn’t matter what the person next to me was doing, the more I realized what an incredible specimen I am, as well.  I fought with my competitive self and let go of this notion that I had to work toward perfection.

Perfection is overrated, anyway…..and what the hell is perfection??  I am happier and happier with progression.  It makes me smile from my soul when my students progress.  That level of growth is such a beautiful thing. In this age of Instagram and the “Perfect, Perky, Pretzel Yogi” it can be hard not try to push yourself beyond your current capabilities to do what they are doing.

That leads me to the point when I decided I needed to compete: our teacher was leading us into a variation of eka pada kundinyasana with a rotation (or side pigeon…something..depends on the teacher and yeah they both look like they sound!). I was not going to get into the pose, no one else got into the pose until…. Samantha popped into it and the teacher congratulated her.  Let’s get something straight: I have no idea who Samantha is but I was not going to let her get all the glory. So BOOM, I pop up into the pose like the badass I am, get my huge congrats from my teacher and….I am hurt.  Really bad, actually. A pull in my left trapezius (on my back) and a strain in my left pectoral (my chest). Yeah, real bad ass.

A couple of morals to this story, children:

  • listen to your body and don’t do more than you truly feel you can

  • Transition slowly and purposefully into each pose.  There really is no need to rush

  • Breathe as you transition.  The breath is essential to yoga and movement

  • Do not, I repeat, do not worry about what the person next to you is doing.  What is happening on their mat is their own journey.  Focus on your own.

  • Allow yourselves to progress and throw the notion of perfection out the window

  • Enjoy yourself.  Don’t get so focused on your practice that you forget to smile.  If the person next to you thinks you are crazy for smiling out of nowhere, that’s their problem.  They should be focused on their own journey anyway.

Be safe, have fun and namaste, y’all!

Your Chief Motivating Officer, Lateefah

#strongchicksrule #yoga #progressionnotperfection #namaste #breathe #practicenotperfect

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