Skip to main content

Why practice doesn't make perfect!

Growing up, we're constantly told 'practice makes perfect'.  It's a mantra that we find ourselves repeating even into adulthood; work hard at something and you'll reap the rewards.

For many aspects of our lives, this may well be true.  We focus our attention on getting better, on the final outcome and the sense of fulfilment we achieve when we reach that point.  The education system in this country is one that constantly measures and tracks improvement, turning young people into a piece of data rather than recognising them as the wonderful individuals they are (ok, as an ex-teacher don't get me started on that - I could rant for hours...).

When it comes to yoga however, it doesn't matter how much you practise, I'm afraid you'll never 'complete' yoga or become 'yoga perfect'.  Why? Because yoga isn't about the destination. Sorry folks, but as cliched as it may sound, it's about the journey!

Ok, thats probably simulatanouely blown your mind and possibly disappointed you and I totally get that.  In the western world we're all about quick fixes: getting from A to B in the quickest possible time, learning copipus amount of information that we can regurgitate in an exam setting and then subsequently forget, or about seeing rapid transformations.  If you want that, then maybe yoga ain't for you.  Or conversely, maybe yoga is exactly what you need...

It's called yoga practice for a reason - you'll never become yoga perfect!

So why the F do we keep practising something we'll never be perfect at? Because being perfect is unattainable and an impossible thing to achieve.  It's a facade created to present an image that lacks imperfections. Why on earth would we want that when it's the imperfections that make us so bloody amazing?  If we were all perfect, we'd be boring clones of one another, with little to distinguish us from one another...and let's face it, the best lessons we learn in life are from the times that we fail not when we succeed with little effort.

As a Virgo and therefore a queen of perfectionism, I spent many of my younger years giving up hobbies and activities that I wasn't the 'best' at.  No grade was worth having if it wasn't an A or an A* (I actually cried for the whole day when I got a B in one of my GCSEs...I shit you not!).  It took me a long time to understand that sometimes it's the things we can't fix about ourselves that make us stand out, make us memorable or relatable, all in all: perfectly imperfect.

So how does this relate to our yoga practice?  Well, firstly, stop comparing yourself! Those perfectly toned Instagram yogis performing seemingly impossible feats of acrobatic agility aren't you.  There are all manner of reasons why they can do what they do, ranging from years of practice, to previous experience in gymnastics, to joint hypermobility...the list goes on.  Just like any form of social media, let's face it, we rarely post the images that show us failing and believe me, even these super-yogis will have fallen out of poses or struggled at some point.

A far happier place to exist is the one where you realise that yoga is about you and your body and treating yourself with kindness and respect.  Don't admonish yourself if you can't do a headstand or the splits.  In the grand scheme of things does it really matter? Is it going to make you a better human being?  I'm guessing not!

Next time you get on your mat, take your focus from eternal factors and really bring it into yourself. Work within parameters that feel good to you, access poses that work for your body, breathe deeply and allow the prana to infuse your body and soul, lie in savasana for the entire session...try sacking off perfection, listen to your body, and make your practice your own.  There's always something to learn.


Popular posts from this blog

The one thing you need to do to revolutionise your day

I'm self-employed so through necessity, I have to fit a lot into my daily routine. This includes time physically spent at work or teaching, time at home doing the admin side of my business - social media, accounts etc, time for myself, including working out, spending time with my friends, family and pets, and time for those boring but necessary daily chores. This does sound like I have a lot of plates spinning and in all honesty, I do, but it's just what works for me. Now, I'm not writing this post because I want to suggest I am some kind of superwoman (really, I'm far from it), but because people ask me how I manage it all and I wanted to share my secret for finding a good work/life balance... LISTS! Ok it's not that exciting or innovative but stick with me on this... I write a weekly to-do list, as I'm sure loads of you do too.  I start with the things I absolutely have to do that week. If things are time sensitive, i.e. I need to pay that invoic

Finding Balance with Restorative Yoga

It’s quite typical to spend your weeks and even your weekends, rushing about trying to get loads of things done and feeling utterly exhausted at the end of it all.  Even our exercise routines can be so fast-paced that they place added stress upon our bodies.  Restorative Yoga gives you an antidote to this fast-paced way of living and encourages you to slow down, rest and recharge. What is Restorative Yoga? Restorative Yoga is about working with your parasympathetic nervous system.  This is the nervous system responsible for, amongst other things, slowing the heart rate, digestion, conserving energy and allowing the body to recharge.  Its role is the complete opposite of the sympathetic nervous system (our ‘flight or fight’ response), which is a state that many of us find ourselves constantly dwelling in, whether due to work or lifestyle stresses. Restorative Yoga is a practice designed to help reduce stress and anxiety, and to help promote relaxation, wellbeing and heali

The one thing they don't warn you about when you start yoga...

Ok so when you start yoga, people are ready to tell you all the positives - that it'll change your life, that you'll become more flexible/stronger/balanced - and all the negatives - there *may* be involuntary passing of gas, you might fall over when you try and balance, people might see your pants through your leggings - etc. etc. etc.  However, what they fail to mention is that probably the hardest thing to do is actually to pluck up the courage, book a class and walk through the doors. In a world where we spend copious amounts of our day to day life behind a computer screen, going out into the 'real' world and interacting with 'real' people is not always easy.  Especially if you're worried that those people are going to be toned gods and goddesses who weave their own clothes from yak's milk and discuss in great detail how to power up their root chakras.  Yes, yoga is a spiritual practice and to be honest, it is one of my bugbears when people just