I remember when I started my yoga journey, with VHS tapes, a few beginner classes under my belt and a kid-in-the-candy-store grin. There were so many asanas to explore, Sanskrit names to learn and elegant angles in which my body would eventually contort. Eventually — as in when I got “good” at yoga… good like those Instagram goddesses; good like Kino Macgregor with her tiny shorts and powerhouse physique. Okay, maybe not like Kino, because, unfortunately, I have bones and apparently she doesn’t. Love her (hate her). Dang, she’s amazing!
So there I was on my yoga journey, making a slow but steady trek towards tricky arm balances and once elusive asanas. With practice, my body began to open and I could split like chopsticks and do other aesthetically impressive poses the way the “good yogis” did them. I amassed my own mini library of yoga books. I bought yoga pants in every color and crazy pattern I could find. I learned the lingo, and had there been a handshake, I’d have learned that too.
Yoga made me a more confident woman. I found my inner warrior as I challenged my fears and stifled the voice of doubt that whispered You can’t in the uncertain space in my head.
But even as I mastered incredible asanas, I never really got good at yoga. Because my own standards kept climbing, and at every turn I could see there was someone doing it better — some sleeker body making smoother transitions. And that’s when I realized I had done what so many yogis do when they step on their mats: I’d missed the whole point. I’d let my ego lead the way…
Sure, my body could perform and I appeared rather yogic, but my heart was completely out of alignment.
So here’s the truth: If you discover you are good at yoga, check your posture. Your head is probably some place it shouldn’t be: up your ass. There is no good or bad in yoga — no right or wrong when we’re truly flowing with our hearts. Perfection isn’t something external we ought to achieve. It’s a seed that already exists within us– in every one of us. And maybe perfection is not the problem. Perhaps it’s the way we define it, the way we covet the shimmering crown of it.
If we use our egos to determine whether we’re “good” at yoga, we set ourselves up for failure. Because there will always be someone better. But never mind that. Because yoga is an individual journey. And there’s only room for one on your mat.
Today, I have yoga poses I’m working towards and physical goals I look forward to reaching. Because practice helps me develop patience, not perfection by society’s standards. I have taken comparisons out of the equation. Every time I step on my mat, I only want to know myself better, to take myself further. I want to make friends with my body and never betray her by demanding more than she is capable of giving. I want to experience the joy of self-love without any impossible standards.
Mantra: There is no “good” in yoga; there is only grateful.
Need more inspiration? Join my small, supportive Facebook group for women who enjoy yoga and want to live a more positive life: Make Space for Yoga.