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The Art of Adjustment

In my youth, and for brief stints in adulthood, I was a dancer. So when I first saw the video below, I deeply appreciated its beauty, grace, and artistry. I also saw it as something to aspire to, if not to master each post but to find the same fluidity and grace in my own practice.

There's just one thing stopping me from achieving that sense of fluidity and grace: I'm adjusting myself when I move from pose to pose.

There are obvious reasons for this: one hamstring is tighter than the other, one hip is more open than the other, one shoulder's full range of motion is not as full as the other's. But there is something even more obvious effecting my practice, but it was the last thing I realized: it's just the way I'm built.

For example, depending on your point of view, I have a short torso or long legs. So my downward dog from table looks very different than my downward dog from plank. My hamstrings have loosened with my practice over the years, but when I lift my leg waist-high, if I stand with my back straight and my shoulders locked in, I can't reach yogi toe lock. My arms are too short, and at 38-years-old, they are unlikely to grow. When I take a child's pose, I like to bring my toes together and spread my knees. This leaves space for "the girls" and allows me to sink deeper into the pose.

My mom is Italian and my dad is German. This heritage has given me some unique proportions -- certainly nothing anyone would've imagined when these poses were created. But yoga has taught me to accept my body for everything it can and can't do, adjustments and all.

And I'm amazed by how much it can do.