When I was 25, and my yoga teacher said, “your heels may not reach the floor during Downward Dog, and that is ok”, I did not believe her.
When she said, “if you need to rest your hands on a block”, I heard her say, “if you’re not flexible enough, rest your hands on a block”.
When he said, “do only what you can while keeping your breath steady and smooth”, I thought, well, what he really means is, “real exercise makes you breathe hard, but this isn’t real exercise, it’s relaxation”.
When she said, “use the variation that feels right to your body”, I heard, “use the most strenuous of the variations that you can”.
When he said, “it can feel more comfortable to use a belt”, I heard him say, “since you have an unnaturally short torso, you’ll need to use a belt”.
When she said, “reach your arms as far as you can, without effort or ambition”, I thought she meant, “reach your arms as close to the floor as I can- if you keep practicing, you’ll get there”.
What if I had heard, the words that they said, instead of the ones that were in my head?