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Practice over Perfection

By Janice Krakowsky

TUE MAR 02, 2021

Has fear of not being perfect or even just not being good at something prevented you from even getting started?

I have a few personal examples that come to mind for me.

First, my oldest son had a really hard time learning to ride a bike, not because he couldn't, but because it didn't come easily to him. He's so used to being able to do things easily and well. When he first got on his bike, it was hard and he would fall. It wasn't a feeling he was used to. He then didn't want to try at all. He was really stubborn about it. He avoided it at all costs. We would have big fights about how he could do hard things and that usually you're not good at something the first time you do it, it takes time and practice and then it will get easier. He didn't want to hear it, until it finally came to a head. He learned to ride his bike in 10 minutes, when he actually tried and put his mind to it.

For myself personally it comes up often when I feel I'm not good enough or someone is already doing it or can do it better so why should I try? Teaching yoga for instance. I don't have the perceived perfect body to do yoga, my physical practice isn't as advanced as the picture perfect photos you see on social media or magazines. I don't have the selling personality to try to persuade others that this is what they need to do. However, I do have my own experiences, what has worked for me, what has worked for those that have taken classes with me. I have something to share. I have my own story to tell, that no one else has. Teaching yoga is very humbling because it isn't about me and what I can do or how much I know, it's how can I communicate with others how powerful the practice of yoga is so that it resonates with them and becomes part of their own story. I'll continue to do me, even when it's scary, even when only one person reads this (thank you !)

What have you been afraid of doing because you didn't think you would be good at it or stopped doing because it was hard and you didn't think you would get anywhere?

If yoga has been that for you, I want to share with you that practice makes progress. The end goal isn't perfection, is that even a real thing? I like to look at it that even when we feel like we get good at a yoga pose, then it's time to take it to another level or go deeper in our experience. It's ever changing, so we never get stagnant.

Yes, sometimes it's nice to have goals so you can see that progress that you are making. Use tree pose ( This can be any pose of your choosing) for example, maybe your goal is to have your foot on your calf without your hands on the wall. So you start close to the wall and with your toes touching the floor and over time you repeat that and connect with your breath and move away from the wall, hands at your heart, until maybe a year or two later (can be shorter) you have your foot on your calf and arms overhead.

Perhaps though you keep your toes on the floor and you focus on your breath and shifting your eye gaze or flowing your arms? There are so many ways to make progress.

Letting go of getting it perfect or having to look a specific way is the long time goal of yoga. Meeting yourself where you are, accepting that and then making small changes to move you along the path.

I see all to often that we try to skip steps, we just want to get to the end pose, but we lose all the work along the way, all the lessons, the stability, the foundation. We miss the journey that gets us there. When you take the baby steps, you will see yourself connecting with your body, mapping out the connections to the different parts of you, you will feel the intention of the poses, and than the end pose isn't as important.

Maybe you don't get started with your practice because you feel you don't have time for an hour or 90 minute practice everyday. Start with short practices, find time to incorporate 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there throughout your day. You might commit yourself to a short morning practice, baby step, once that becomes a habit, you include a short evening practice, once that becomes a habit, you do a 20-30 minute practice in the afternoon (or whenever time allows you)

Giving yourself grace that yoga doesn't have time parameters. I don't have an hour so I can't do yoga. Do you have 2 minutes while you're waiting for your food to heat up to either focus on your breath? Do you have 5 minutes before you start your show to move your body through some hip and shoulder rotations? Can you take a 30 second break from the computer to open up your chest and mover your spine through it's ranges of motion?

Some ideas for getting started: Spend a few minutes meditating, Mediation for beginners; Take time to rest in Savasana, Take a yoga break when you've been sitting all day.

These are doable, accessible things that once you start incorporating into your routine, you will realize you have more time to be present to both your body and breath and it will build on itself.

I encourage you to write down what's standing in your way. What do you feel is stopping you? Is it perfection? Is it that it's hard? Is it that you don't have enough time?

Next look at those reasons and see if they are valid. Can you work around them? Are they even true?

Now get started.