Practice Not Perfection

I am by all accounts a Type A.  High expectations for myself but also for those around me.  Luckily a strong yoga practice has grounded me and I have learned to live with more love and less judgement.  Off my mat.  The struggle to let go of perfection on my mat however has proved to be a challenge.  Finding my edge usually meant pushing my body deeper and further into a pose. Listening to my head (ego) and not my body has led to aches and pains and a nagging yoga injury that just won’t heal.

I carry around what I affectionately refer to as “yoga butt”, a pain that surfaces when I lengthen and move deep into the glutes, a reminder that doing more and pushing through isn’t always better.  That to receive the benefits of the pose, I don’t always have to move deeper, that sometimes I need to ease out and just sit.  Sit with the feelings, the sensations and sometimes the frustration of not being able to do what was once easy. I am letting yoga come to me instead of always reaching for it.

I have also learned that a strong practice does not mean time in a studio, but rather time on my mat.  I used to feel bad if I couldn’t make it to a class. If I slept in, was running late or a kid was sick, the feelings of not being a “good yogi” kicked in.  Those were also the days when I showed up with a top of the line mat, the best yoga gear and tried to push through a power class when what I really needed was Yin.  After 10 years of practicing and completing my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, I realize that a committed practice means finding the time, whether it is 5 minutes or 5 hours to land on my mat.  Most days that means at home-without the bamboo floors & the heated room.

I have let go of what I thought yoga was supposed to be and instead have accepted what it means to me: the union of breath and movement, of becoming whole, of moving towards emotions and feelings instead of moving away.  And I will take that over perfection any day.

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