Practice Makes Perfect?

Written by Victoria Randles.

I have to admit, as I've creeped Facebook in the past I've found some breathtaking photos of experienced yogis in advanced postures on some exotic beach setting. Does a photo like that steer you away from your practice or does it inspire you?

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A common sub-personality of residents of North America at this time is the the chase of perfectionism. From over-achieving to physical perfection to always being busy with being busy, we've created a society of all or nothing-ers. If we aren't going to be the best at something, the fittest, prettiest or richest we tend to fall into the trenches.

I recently attended a class on emotional healing where we analyzed the concept of perfectionism. Once you've targeted perfection you're choosing the path of destruction. It's inevitable as it is an unattainable goal and only creates a constant sense of failure. There is no freedom in a perfectionist's mind, much like a prison cell, the only way out is to surrender. So, why not surrender from this point on and experience a path of joy and success?

Have you ever attended a yoga class and watched in awe as the instructor demonstrates a vinyasa flow with ease and grace, making it look simple? Then as you attempt, you find yourself face flat on the mat as your arms gave out in chaturanga? Guess what? that's okay! Practicing yoga is a journey of exploring your body, mind and soul. Everyone is on a different section of their journey, yet we can all come together and enjoy the space. It isn't about walking into a room, throwing your leg over your head and expecting to be praised.

It's a great idea to set reasonable goals and feel a sense of accomplishment as you reach them but don't get caught in the all or nothing mindset. That's why there are several variations to every posture so you can sit at a place that challenges you yet you can still find comfort and have room to explore. Yoga is a great place to dispel any negative thought patterns we've created in other areas of our lives.

Whether you are new to practicing yoga or you're an advanced veteran remember to be patient with yourself. Inside each of us is a child just waiting to explore, so be as patient with yourself as you would a small child. The most beneficial classes are those when you are unaware of other participants either watching you, or comparing yourself to them.

When you can simply just be and experience the fun, adventure and joy that yoga should be, that is perfection. Experiencing the moment for all that it is with no tainted judgment or criticism externally or internally...siiggghhhh, doesn't that feel nice? I recommend leaving you're serious face behind; you know the one, when you're reaching that extra few inches for the bind in exalted warrior ;). Bring a smile to the door, leave the perfectionist behind and don't pick it up again on your way out!

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