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Perfectionism On & Off the Yoga Mat

Perfectionism On & Off the Yoga Mat

Do you long to perform better on your yoga mat? Maybe you’ve seen an impressive peacock pose on Instagram and feel shameful that your pose doesn’t look nearly that graceful? Well, I know the feeling; I’ve been there, too.

But listen up, y’all. Contrary to popular belief, yoga is NOT about how flexible you are, your cute leggings, or your ability to stand on one hand.

Everybody is built differently, and in an ideal world, each pose would be specifically instructed to fit each body. For example, the shape of my particular hip sockets will never ever – not even after twenty MORE years of practicing yoga – allow me to come into a safe lotus pose. And currently, my massage practice takes all I’ve got out from my wrists and leaves nothing else for arm balances.

Yet, even though I know the limitations in my own body, I sometimes still feel the sneaky pressure to be seen as a “perfect yogi.”  I yearn to fold up my legs into padmasana and pop onto hands for Crow pose because these big, glorified poses are what is showcased most in our modern yoga world.

In 2016, yoga was a $16 billion industry in America alone. The images of flashy yoga poses are used to sell everything from cars to toilet paper to beer. Although it takes absolutely nothing physical to maintain a yoga practice, we are sold clothes and gear that costs us hundreds of dollars. (And don’t even get me started on the insane sexualization of yoga).

It’s time to stop this ridiculousness and remember what yoga is truly all about.

Perfectionism is like a disease. It is infectious and communicable. When we succumb to perfectionistic tendencies we believe our own personal narrative about being broken. It reinforces the stories that we all tell ourselves about not being good enough.

The yoga classroom is not a place for this disease of perfectionism. It is a place to reunite with our breath, and to allow the residue of the past and the preoccupations with the future melt away so as to be connected with the NOW, the present moment. In yoga, we cultivate gratitude for the simple and profound gift of being alive.

Please, please put the pressures of perfectionism to rest. Let your yoga practice – on and off the mat – be a place where you can remember that you are whole, holy, divine, and “perfect” just as you are. 

By Elise Fabricant

Elise Fabricant is a top teacher on She's also always at your service for one-on-one coaching. If you’re ready to make big changes in all aspects of your life, sign up for a complimentary clarity session with her from her website here.

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