Fighting against perfection is an impossible battle. Impossible to play by the rules, impossible to win. Most of the time, we know better. But dammit if something doesn’t spark a return to that negative place when we least expect it.
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Last weekend I found myself triggered during the exploration of wheel pose in yoga teacher training class. Instead of staying curious to learn the intricacies of opening, expanding and giving space, hot tears lumped in my throat at the inescapable memory of a former yoga teacher who’d shamed my inability to perfectly form the pose during our primary vinyasa sequence, chastising me for taking away her ability to focus on the flow of others. Months of blocks, bolsters, walls, yin…nothing worked to lengthen my arm bones or loosen my shoulders to a degree which would allow the other bits of me to waterfall into that elegant, beautiful shape to meet the textbook image we both held.
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I can’t believe I’ve carried that shame and guilt in my subconscious for what, 25 or 26 years? And for what purpose? The person I am today is not the person I was then. Not in age, body, mind, life, practice. Why on earth would I be upset with myself now for not being able to contort myself into a pose that my former teacher couldn’t see I was unable to form? This makes less than zero sense.
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So I did what I should have done then: I owned it. It’s part of me that I will never be able to make the perfect wheel. A powerful triangle, a strong tree, sure. I won’t stop trying to open my heart and drop into that wheel-shaped space, and I’ll hold the wish of being able to arch this 40+ year old body into something Instagram would accept, but that chase for perfection has softened into something more meaningful and sustainable–beating perfection with acceptance. I am perfectly imperfect, and that’s ok with me.
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