Why Your Practice Shouldn’t Look Like Anybody Else’s

When I first moved to LA almost nine years ago, I donned the whole “yogini at the beach” look. The tight Spiritual Gangster top, the mala beads, the white flared yoga pants. I drank my green juice and dropped my donation in the box at Santa Monica Power Yoga. I also judged myself, and everybody else, incessantly.

God, I was miserable. I was looking so hard for the answer. As a yoga teacher. As a student. As a twentysomething. The answer that wasn’t at the peak of an upward facing dog or the bottom of wine glass. It certainly wasn’t when I finally got that perfect class slot or a semi-passable Scorpion pose. It was an answer that would only start to reveal itself years later when I finally got quiet enough to sit with “what is.” And fuck that was hard.

It wasn’t until my early thirties when I finally wrote myself a big ol’ permission slip to craft a practice that reflected me. As I look back I wonder now why that was so terribly hard. My values are connection, creativity and gratitude but those weren’t reflected in my practice or even in my teaching. Instead I’d watch how the most successful yogis were doing it - whether those teaching or that guy on the mat next to me - then I’d do my best to emulate it. But guess what? Emulating, or let’s be real “copying,” will never ever be as good or as authentic as the real thing.

We all do it. We look at other people’s Instagram feeds. Their Pintrest pages. Their playlists. Their haircuts. Their “perfect” seeming families.

Is this a crime? Of course not. It’s very, very human of us. And when we look through the lens of inspiration, it’s a beautiful thing. When we look through the lens of comparison, it’s horrible self deprecating.

Creating practices or rituals that bring us back home to what’s important to us are vital.

Some days my practice looks very cookie cutter: 20 minutes of meditation followed by 40 minutes of yoga practice. But most of the time it’s a jumble of what I need: meditation while enjoying my cup of coffee, moving my body (which may or may not look like yoga), followed by writing down whatever came up during my practice. And THIS is what I teach from. What I lead from. What fills me up. And it’s why it feels so damn satisfying.

Craft a practice that serves you.

- MB LaRue