What I talk about when I talk about yoga

I have been living the wannabe-yogi/never-leaves-the-house-without-yoga-pants/talks-about-chakras/casual-namaste-emoji lifestyle since I moved to my current flat. I now live in the neighbourhood of overachieving wannabe yogis.

When I moved here, the first thing I did was to sign up for the local yoga studio, which also happened to be the coolest, trendiest, most hype in town.

Blissfully ignorant I was, I thought this was going to be easy. I’d been doing yoga for years and thought I was pretty good at it. I wouldn’t sweat much, but still be pretty awesome and tick this off my list. I thought I got this. I even thought I’d probably be bored in a month. 

 by Sinem Erdemli

by Sinem Erdemli

It turned out that this wasn't the coolest, trendiest, most hype yoga studio in town for nothing.

The best teachers, the best students, lots of six packs, perfect yoga outfits, flawless headstands, flawless side crows, flawless didn’t-even-know-existed yoga poses and super fit yummy mummies were everywhere. I was terribly shocked at the beginning. This was indeed a challenge that I didn’t expect. Soon enough, I was hooked at the no-joke quality of the classes and the whole package: dim lights, calming scents, very cool playlists and fit fellow yogis. Finally, I started to really really pushed myself. And when I started to actually push myself to my limits, everything began. 

I promised myself that I’d become the ultimate yogi myself.

The truth is, when it comes to yoga, I’m not perfect. I’m getting better. Like every wannabe yogi, I have some strengths that I can rely on to cover up my weaknesses. I’m, for example, pretty flexible. This helps me with the fact that I’m not that strong. These two balance each other and I do OK. I hang in there, keep going to classes, keep walking around in my yoga pants and keep pushing and holding and sweating and adjusting and raising higher and bending lower and I keep going. I hang in there. I keep showing up. No matter what you do, don’t quit.

And slowly slowly slowly I get a little bit better.

The other day, I had a quick peek in the mirror while I was bent over, upside down, with one leg up while my own sweat dripping on my face, and saw my six packs starting to show. I can’t even tell you how much of a huge moment this was. All because I kept showing up again and again. And I’m only starting.

 by Sinem Erdemli

by Sinem Erdemli

Going to the coolest, trendiest, most hype yoga studio in town is my secret to my mini triumph.

Because I know that when I go to a class everyone will be in their best shape, show their best effort and be as present and motivated as they can be. So I owe my perseverance to this tough crowd of fellow yogis. Likewise, my presence in the class creates the encouragement for my fellow yogis to not give up. This friendly competition keeps all of us going. It’s like the respect, a bunch of overachiever ambitious tigers showing each other to stay on their games. We keep showing up to classes, keep working hard and keep raising the bar higher, which makes all of us better in the end.

Well, I know, you’re not supposed to compare yourself to others in yoga.

🧘‍♀️ ⚡️🧘‍♂️

My teacher always says that we're all our own best teacher, and should go at our own pace. I agree with this in my mind and I like to think that competition doesn’t motivate me at all. However, the pretty fucking ambitious tiger in me disagrees. And recently I’ve been starting to admit that perhaps having tough competition does help me more than I think. All these wannabe yogis make me so jealous that I go back to the same torturesome class week after week even though yoga is about kindness, whatever, and eventually be as great as them. Not my teachers, but my peers indeed. 

But let's admit, our tribes matter so so so much.

They give you the type of push that nothing else, no willpower, no deadline, no resolution can compare. I’m saying this confidently because this has lacked in me so long until I joined this hype yoga studio. Being a part of a top-notch wannabe-yogi/never-leaves-the-house-without-yoga-pants/talks-about-chakras/casual-namaste-emojis community does help me hugely to adjust what is good enough and isn’t. And this all happened with moving to my current flat.

I know you're uber smart, but also equally distracted, so here’re the two points to take away from this:

Keep pushing

and

join the best yoga studio.

 by Sinem Erdemli

by Sinem Erdemli

So like I already acknowledged, you're pretty smart, but probably multitasking and therefore distracted, but here's the real take away:

Yoga is the metaphor for creativity. 🤯🤯🤯

P.S. I have to credit Haruki Murakami’s What I talk about when I talk about running for the title. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. I’m fascinated by how generous great writers like Murakami are in sharing insights into their processes. It’s a very very inspiring, easy-to-read book about self-discipline, the power of consistent practice and writing techniques for novelists. But I think they can be applied to any kind of creative work. And runners will enjoy it too. 

P.S. 2 Finally, all those beautiful illustrations above are created by this lovely lady, who’s a real yogi, not a wannabe. I couldn’t think of better visuals for this article than hers.

Namaste

Elif 😍