I so vividly remember one of the first yoga classes I went to. It was at the first gym I ever joined in my early twenties.
My teacher Diana was muscular and graceful, and had the most soothing voice, and sometimes in class she would hand a prop to a student to help them in a posture.
We were in trikonasana (triangle pose) and Diana was walking across the yoga room in my direction with a block. My inner dialogue was hoping it was not for me because I didn’t want to be doing the pose wrong.
But she was bringing that block to me! And although it was helpful, I didn’t understand how or why at the time, and I mostly just felt embarrassed.
I’ve heard from so many yogis about this fear of doing it wrong.
- They don’t want to go to a public class because they’re scared they’ll do it wrong and embarrass themselves in front of the more experienced students.
- If their teacher gives them a prop, it’s because they were doing the pose wrong.
- They’re worried about livestream classes, that not being in the studio means they might do it wrong.
But the truth about yoga and yoga alignment is this: a skillful teacher could look at even the most exquisite, well-aligned yoga pose – let’s say trikonasana – and give a helpful alignment upgrade. There is no upper limit to how brilliant a yoga pose can be.
So from the perspective that any posture could get even more refined, do we infer that we’re all doing the postures wrong all the time? No, not at all.
At Maha, we look at it this way: we can always get better at being ourselves, at working with ourselves. And that practice itself is the yoga. We won’t arrive at perfect postures, nor are we trying to rescue ourselves from ‘doing it wrong.’
Yoga is not a destination; it’s a path of ever-deepening refinement.
Of course, some misalignments can cause injury. and it’s important to learn not to hurt ourselves on the mat! But what I see more often is that our fear of doing it wrong is just a story our anxiety tells us that keeps us from making a meaningful commitment.
We can refine our yoga over a lifetime, and we must. As our body ages and changes, our yoga will too. But to do that, we need to get out of our own way and lay down our perfectionist racket about doing it wrong!
If you’re ready to commit to yourself and your yoga, membership is your best option. Whether you’re ready to come to your mat once a week, twice a week, or even daily, we’ve got a membership option for you!
And you can change your membership tier or cancel any time with 30 days notice- after all, the longterm commitment you’re making it to yourself.
If you’re experiencing financial insecurity and need access to yoga on a sliding scale, reply to this email. We’ve got you!
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