Yoga is an irony in terms, I’ve surmised. The action of yoga is typically called a ‘practice’, but the deeper meaning of the movement flies in the face of the adage, “practice makes perfect”.
Because guess what? No one is perfect at yoga.
There are yoga teachers with hundreds of hours of training under their sweat resistant spandex pants. They’ve taught classes on mountaintops, in musty basements in rec centers, in 95-degree heated rooms, during Zoom livestreams, and everywhere else in between.
And they all still fall out of their poses.
Today’s topic came to me during my AM practice yesterday. It was my first session with a new Alo Moves series, and it focused on side planks. Typically, I’m pretty solid with my side planks:
This untouched picture was snapped a month ago after an hourlong practice and several retakes. I remember this now, but yesterday morning? I forgot all of these caveats as I got angrier with myself for falling out of the same side plank several times. My body stiffened with each wobble, the negative talk slowly seeping its way into my head. By the time the practice ended in Savasana, I wasn’t very relaxed and I carried my self-judgment into the remainder of my morning.
As I said at the top, no one is perfect at yoga – least of all, me. But it’s hard to remember that simple truth when you’re sweating out on the mat in an effort to advance your practice. It’s SO frustrating, but I think I’ve got some ideas on how to mentally recover from a not-so-perfect practice:
- Give Yourself Grace – Often, we come to the mat to release tension, sadness, grief, or any myriad of feelings. Keep that in mind as you flow and forgive yourself when you stumble. The mat doesn’t seek perfection; it only wants you in your most authentic form.
- Focus on Technique – If there’s a particular pose you’re struggling with, work with that one pose. Search YouTube for a how-to video or pay a certified yoga instructor to help you work through that specific asana instead of finding it in a longer flow session.
- Use Props Proudly – There is ZERO shame in using a block, strap, or bolster to support you in practice. That’s exactly what they are there for, regardless of your experience level.
- Seek Growth, Not Achievement – This is a TOUGH one for my Type-A perfectionist yogis out there (myself included!). As much as you might love to leave your beginner or intermediate stance behind, be OK with your current level. Focus on how much your practice is growing, and not so much on your potential advancement.
See you on the mat tomorrow!
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