If you're a perfectionist, you're not alone.
When I began my yoga teaching journey, I had a lot of big goals. I aimed to wake up every morning to meditate. I planned to practice asana every day. I was prepared to supplement my yoga practice with strength training. In other words, I wanted to be the kind of teacher who set a good example for students. But life often has other plans. And when there’s a pandemic looming over our heads and affecting every aspect of our lives, we do what we have to do to get through the days, the weeks, and the months.
I spent an inordinate amount of time in my teens and twenties striving for perfection. If I reread something in my journal that seemed irrelevant or silly to me, I started a new journal — it’s how I’ve amassed an embarrassingly hefty collection of notebooks over the years. If I wasn’t good at a task or activity immediately, I’d feel so discouraged that I’d quit (it’s why I still claim to dislike the game Settlers of Catan after only playing it once). Going through yoga teacher training was actually the kick in the ass I needed to not only accept imperfection, but also develop a reverence for it.
Practice is the goal.
I’m not a perfect yogi. I’m not a perfect skater. I’m not perfect at anything I do, and I feel okay saying that now. Yoga teacher training showed me that practice is the goal. Patanjali’s first yoga sutra, Atha yoganusasanam, or “now we begin the practice of yoga” was the first lesson my instructors discussed to kick off my training. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that every time we step on our mat, sit to meditate, lace up our skates, or work on breathing techniques, we’re starting a practice. It’s the epitome of “come as you are." It’s more about the journey than a particular destination. So as you read my blog, or speak to me in person, or take a class from me, please remember that my goal is never to be perfect or to encourage you to be perfect. It’s to be real and connect with you through the real. It’s to meet you where you are and guide you with the knowledge I’ve amassed as a teacher. Ultimately, my goal is to support you. We’re all on our own journeys, and the most important thing we can do for one another is cheer each other on.