Last week I took Emily's Vinyasa class. She had her hair in a really cool top knot braid extravaganza that looked like something from the pages of Italian Vogue. The next morning Emily came in to take my class with her hair in the same super-styled top knot. A student sitting on the bench said, "Your hair is so amazing!" Even in its slightly frizzed and fluffy state from being slept on, it was indeed still amazing.
In response to the student's comment, Emily sarcastically smiled and said, "I woke up like this." It was funny, especially funny to me because I knew that she really had just woken up like that.
Beyoncé has a song called Flawless where she repeats that line, "I woke up like this" over and over. When Emily said those same words about her slept-on-seen-better-days hair style, I immediately heard Beyoncé's voice in my head.
In my house Beyoncé is the favored musical artist, possibly the most favored human being on the planet. Both Nancy and Lucia adore all things Beyoncé I like Beyoncé a lot, but my love for her does not come close the love my family feels for her; still hear her music--- lot.
So, as students signed in and got set up for class, Beyoncé's voice singing, "I woke up like this" echoed in my head. Beyoncé's idealized status in our house is, in part because she's really an amazing singer and performer, but also because she's a bad-ass. She's intelligent. She's a feminist, an activist, an amazing role model for girls and boys alike. And, she does yoga.
As I prepared to teach with images of Nancy and Lucia standing in our kitchen bellowing, "I woke up like this", it occurred to me how truly powerful those words are. "I woke up like this" means to me that we are, all of us, perfect just as we are. Our perfection, our true essence is inside of us, from the moment we wake up with our messy hair and unwashed face. Perfection.
I took Beyoncé's (and Emily's) message in with me to the studio. "You're all perfection," I told the class. "Remember through the class, you woke up like this. Perfection."
Yoga is a profoundly beautiful experience because it's about uncovering our own "flawlessness." It's not physical perfection that we seek in yoga. It's self-realization, digging deep down to find our internal diamond in the rough. You see, whatever is supposed to be there is already there. It's you. You really do wake up like this. You wake up as you. Thanks Beyoncé and Emily for the inspirational reminder.