There are days when we feel lost and alone, when the yogic lesson that “we are all one” just doesn’t make any sense, and we feel our separateness so keenly, we just want to shout at anyone who tries to help: “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE ME!”
I often have moments when I feel alone in a room full of people. I’m a yoga teacher with scoliosis, a skeptic hippie, a hopeful academic, and a spoken word poet who just wants to write about my feelings in verse form while everyone else is spitting political diatribes. I’ve never quite felt like I’ve found my tribe, never been a puzzle piece that found her jigsaw. Maybe it’s the scoliosis, and I was just never meant to be totally straight.
I think I finally found someone who gets me, though. Her name is Matangi, and she is a salty old lady in the Hindu Goddess pantheon that is sometimes called “The Outcaste One.” She is literally the goddess of bedhead, an artist and poet who can’t be asked to put on any more clothes than her half-buttoned up nightgown, and smiles her crooked smile under her frizzy hair. She doesn’t want to be part of the crowd, and she’s most in her power because she is different, and refuses to align with any specific group following any specific rules. She knows what it’s like to be me. She takes me in not because I am perfect or always peaceful and graceful but precisely because I’m a little crooked, like her.
As soon as I settle into my own different-ness, as soon as I feel at home in it, I remember: if there’s anything humans share, it’s that feeling that we just don’t fit in. We can never fit perfectly into the same space as someone else, no matter how perfect we get our yoga poses to look. We’re all crooked yogis, whether it’s scoliosis, a tilted pelvis, an old injury, or all the mistakes we make all the time. Not a one of us has always felt at home.
Matangi takes us under her crooked wing, and then back home: to the source of all living things, Shakti. Every manifestation of the goddess, from the Goddess of Bedhead to Lakshmi, the ultimate representation of wealth and beauty, is a form of the same energy that we are made up of. We may not always feel that we fit into the right boxes, but Matangi reminds us that we are not as separate as we sometimes feel. We are all manifestations of the same energy.
So in the end, it’s perfectly alright to be a little crooked. In fact, it’s what we have in common. Our “out-caste-ness,” no matter how visible or invisible it may seem, is something we share, and when we remember that, we remember that the feeling of separateness is an illusion, and that all our crazy crooked hearts are in this together to the end.
Julie Peters has been practising yoga from the tender age of 12, and it’s gotten her through everything from the horrors of teenagedom to a Master’s degree in English Literature. She is a performance poet, freelance writer, and Vinyasa Flow and Yin yoga teacher. She brings a creative style, warm energy, and food for thought to every class. www.jcpeters.ca
Love me some Julie :)