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Why we should all stop trying to touch our toes

I used to think my life would be easier – better – if I could touch my toes. “When I can touch my toes, man, things are going to be different.” I’d get starry-eyed just thinking about it.

Unconsciously, lots of us think like this: Life will be better when I can do "x." (Have you?) But this belief is straight delusion. Totally insane.

It suggests that flexible humans contain more worth than inflexible ones. It suggests that people with tight hamstrings are bad.

That is plain crazy. We should ban toe-touching.

But seriously, have you ever caught yourself wishing for more flexibility? “Touching my toes” can become a psychological shorthand for “being a better human.” And doing yoga can become a trick to improve oneself.

Spoiler alert: Yoga does not exist to make you a better human.

Yoga exists to remind you that you are simply living. Within the swirling drama of life there is a calm, still space. Through yoga, you connect your mind with a peaceful, vital state of being. You discover that your life source is enormous - and it's the same as everyone else's. That's yoga.

So if you come to yoga to touch your toes, you may work and strain and push. Then one day you'll finally touch your toes … and nothing will happen. Zero! No celebration, no streamers, no enlightenment. Just your hands on your toes. And the same unchanged state of being as before.

So, come to life to be as you are. Come to stop struggling on outward goals. You are not an eternal struggle of inadequacy glazed in wistful aspirations.

You are here. Now.

If you locate self-worth in your hamstrings, you block actual fulfillment. Instead, cast inwards your choice to be happy and sentence yourself to satisfaction of eternal adequacy.

Free your hamstrings; free your self. Stop trying to touch your toes.

Are you making an improvement project out of yourself (and others)? Do you do yoga to make yourself more special?

If you have tied your self-worth to your body project, change your mind today. Come to yoga to accept yourself as you are. Witness the still steady space within you, and witness the world meeting it. That’s it. This is it.

While you’re at it, recognize the silliness of contorting your body in silence with a room full of strangers. Enjoy every second.

(Photo of Maeve Jones copyright Justa Jeskova).

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