Here’s Why You’ll Never be Good at Yoga

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.

P.S. I’m SO psyched about the yoga book I wrote. This fun little guide will inspire you and help you find magic and momentum on the mat. Check it out here and leave a review if you feel so inclined. I’d LOVE that!

My yoga book to inspire your yoga journey

10 Comments
  • Laurie
    September 19, 2016

    Rica, I do a little yoga everyday and realize (alas) certain asanas I’ll never be good at. Especially things that involve touching my toes. Maybe too many year of wearing high heels caught up with me. I still love it anyway and there’s nothing better than having a position slowly get easier.

    • Rica Lewis
      September 19, 2016

      I agree! I only compete with myself, and getting “better” is just a side effect of showing up consistently. There’s no frustration when we do yoga that way! Thanks for reading, Laurie. ?

  • Peggy
    September 19, 2016

    So you know I just have to chime in. Years ago, when I was about 18 months into my yoga practice, I was in triangle pose and a student teacher walked by and said my pose was perfect. I could feel my ego all over the place. Like, “hey you, look at me! My triangle is perfect!!”

    And then I came crashing down, in the middle of my perfection. And I realized that I had to start my yoga practice all over from scratch. I told my teacher that (not the student teacher). He was confused at first but it dawned on him, too. Yoga is NOT about perfection. Yoga Sutra 1.2 clearly states what yoga is: Yoga is the cessation of the mind stuff.

    Love you Rica!!

    • Rica Lewis
      September 19, 2016

      Thanks for chiming in Peggy! I always appreciate your comments. And I can imagine you in your perfect triangle pose. Lol!

  • Natalie
    September 19, 2016

    Great encouragement for beginner’s and experts alike 🙂 Thank you for writing this post!

    • Rica Lewis
      September 19, 2016

      Thanks for reading,Natalie! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • heidi
    September 19, 2016

    I love your moral of the story posts. I do utilize a few yoga poses in my workout because it is so good for the back. You make me want to try again but yes I don’t think I will be “good at it” per-say but I am really not a perfectionist and I believe that being in tune with your body is the ultimate goal in wellness.

  • Lisa
    September 19, 2016

    There is only room for one on your mat. How true! And this is the best thing – for yoga and life. My Grandfather always said, “There will always be someone better than you so stop worrying about them. Worry about you.”

    • Rica Lewis
      September 19, 2016

      Your grandfather was wise! So glad you stopped in, Lisa. It’s always fun to meet a new “friend” who is equally invested in self-improvement. I enjoyed your recent post on your blog and I’m happy you followed me here. 🙂

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