Letting Go of Perfectionism In Yoga

Michelle Lou Lan
Letting Go of Perfectionism In Yoga

In the age of social media, with the world awash in Beauty Publications, Integra, and Tumblr, projecting perfect yoga bodies and poses, it’s easy to judge one’s own body. Our minds become fixated on these images of perfection, and then when we go to class and try to do them ourselves in front of the mirror, we think, “That doesn’t look right!”

Self-judgment is something we should leave outside the room of an honest yoga practice. I know this is not always an easy thing to do, especially when we’re surrounded by those who we think are better than we are. The last thing you want to get is the “Compare-Despair” syndrome! These emotions can take over your practice in ways you least expect them to, especially in the “Balance Pose.” When people lose their balance – they really lose it!

Fear & Self Doubt

Generally before every class, my yoga assistant informs me about student injuries that I should be aware of. But on this day she said, “Nobody has injuries, the class is filled with yoga instructors.” Normally something like this wouldn’t affect me but for some reason on this day, I was immediately filled with self-doubt. Thoughts from my childhood manifested themselves into feelings of insecurity and fear.

I knew that if I had indulged these feelings, it would have disrupted my teaching. But no matter how hard I tried to change my thoughts, I just couldn’t do it. I was so anxious that I forgot to even introduce myself!

Then an interesting thing happened. I realized it’s not about me - it’s about what I can give to them. And once I fully engaged with the students and the teachings of the class, all the self-doubt evaporated. People will tell you “loosen up" or "take it easy.” The only thing I found that really works is to truly focus and engage in what you’re doing and all the other thoughts will disappear.

And at the end of the day, the more you work at just being yourself, the more you will feel purpose in your life and be empowered to fulfill it.