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Practice Makes Improvement, Not Perfection

“You have to show up and TRY, but your level of trying will change because of how you are feeling each day.”

~ Emmett Aaron aka the love of my life aka my 9 year old son.

Thus began my new theme for teaching yoga after being quite the perfectionist for 20 years and incredibly hard on myself. Sometimes, my child is my greatest teacher.

Yoga is a practice. It is created to practice for a lifetime. I often suggest to my students that they burn the word perfect and remove it from their dictionaries. Perfect is possibly the most defeating word of all time. It’s not possible to be perfect ever on your mat or off your mat. It sets us up for failure and defeat. It is the human condition to always be changing! Thus, your yoga practice is always changing.

One is never finished with yoga or a pose. There is no checklist. One doesn’t “do triangle pose” then suddenly declares, “Well, I did it. Let’s check the triangle off the list.” It even sounds absurd to say it outloud. Oh, I got that breathing, breath practice down! Let’s move on from that!

Maty, who was my yoga teacher for over 20 years and the founder of YogaWorks, would always say, “The postures don’t change. We change. Our relationships to the poses change!.” Such true words I have shared and taken to heart.

Yoga is about working with what you have on any given day. The darkness and the light and everything in between. Yoga is being curious and open to what is. Yoga is about letting go of your mind-stuff and paying more attention to your body. Yoga unveils and creates a clearer pathway to getting to know our true natures, without distractions. Yoga makes the mind quieter and our hearts and our intuition louder.

Getting to know our true nature and self is a practice. The postures are our tools. We need to show up and try. Some days this try is very small as we are, “On the human struggle bus.” Other days our try is huge and we can meet the best versions of ourselves and thrive. More often than not, we are somewhere in the middle.

I urge you to let go of the idea of “perfection” in yoga, and instead focus on progress and consistency and loyalty and trust. There simply is no such thing as perfection in yoga. There is your choice to show up, engage with what is on any given day and TRUST showing up makes a difference both big and small.

3 responses to “Practice Makes Improvement, Not Perfection”

  1. Ummehani says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Imran says:

    What a refreshing perspective on the journey of improvement! Embracing the idea that practice leads to improvement rather than perfection is both liberating and empowering. It reminds us to focus on progress rather than unattainable ideals. Thank you for sharing this insightful post—it’s a valuable reminder to celebrate the small victories along the way.

  3. Ankita says:

    Great job on this post! Your attention to detail and thorough explanations make your blog one of my favorites.

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