Eight short years ago, I was immersed in yoga teacher training, determined to become the best yoga teacher I could be. Even though I aimed to be the best, however, I never allowed myself to feel worthy of success. Perhaps because I looked like none of the yoga teachers I emulated, I always doubted myself. I let other teachers tell me what I should do and how I should feel, instead of integrating into my own body what I was learning.
Embedded in me was this idea that if I wasn’t feeling a certain way in a pose, or achieving “optimal alignment” based on some subjective ideology, I was a failure at yoga. I believed that if I could not do a headstand without the support of the wall, I wasn’t ready for the pose. The teacher kept saying I should feel the pose in this or that part of my body, but I wasn’t feeling the pose in those places; my body just didn’t react in the way the teacher predicted. To assist me in achieving “perfection” in an asana, they suggested that I strengthen my abs, improve my focus, or just “keep practicing.”