I was walking in the woods today when I saw this amazing tree. Bent double, hollowed out and yet still there is life - leaf buds heralding the start of spring and it made me think about the pursuit of perfection in some yoga practice
I am eternally grateful that when I came to yoga, I stumbled on a superb Iyengar teacher. Recovering from a chronic health condition, I needed strength, my muddled mind absorbed the constant instruction to move this, tighten that, align everything! My inner critic thrived on the competition created by the chasing of a 'perfect' idealised shape. I spent six happy years pushing my body, but at some point, I began to think about the purpose of the practice. Was there such a thing as 'good' pain? Is an occupied mind the same as a quiet mind? Did I know anything more about myself at the end of my practice?
I began teaching as a new career, a job and now a couple of years in, I am re-evaluating that too. I only practice with a handful of people, but I have established great connections with those individuals. It has become more of a vocation than a job! What a joy to share what I have learned. How exciting to be part of their journey of discovery!
As I progress in my practice, I move further from that idea of 'perfection' towards the goal of connection - with my body, my mind, the people I practice with, the wider yoga community, the world!
Progress can be so many things - committing to regular practice, listening to the feedback from your own body, finding a modification that brings you comfort and ease in a difficult posture. Perfection leads us to seek external validation and reinforces society's expectations of our bodies.
So today, seek progress not perfection