Confessions of a Yoga Teacher – Done

Carrie_Bradshaw_Prestonby LS Harteveld

Every time I am amazed at how simple life is. And at the same time, how easy it is to make it incredibly complicated. That we identify a trail running through open fire and deadly marshes, as our correct course in life, because it answers to our idea that life is hard, that some things are worth fighting for and that good things do not come easy.
We believe in improving our situation, ourselves, relationships and the list goes on and on – much more than in everything we know, deep down in our hearts, to be true; That only the fool wrestles through the thorns. Especially if the bushes are right next to the road, and the path itself is completely clear.

Ever since I started my training as a yoga teacher I was asked about my daily practice. Ironically, I had one at the time. And I remember the application being a somewhat strange experience, because I could tell they were used to students who still needed to establish that.
Hardly anyone arrived at the gates of this four year teacher training, already having a solid daily practice of an hour or more.
Except me.

Yet once I started teaching, the exact opposite happened. I entered the army of professionals to whom having a home practice was supposedly a prerequisite to being a good teacher, and yet my enthusiasm for it was nowhere to be found. My home yoga was gone. And for years I’ve been trying to get it back because I believed in the story that unless you have a home practice, you are not a good teacher. I believed in the thorns.

But yesterday all the pieces came together. I solved the yoga practice problem and within 24 hours I had basically solved every other problem in my life as well. Once I saw that I was wrestling the bushes next to the road, in one area, it was much easier to see the pattern. And to get my scratched ass on the road of least resistance instead.

I had identified my home practice, or lack thereof, as a problem because I had received strong signs a daily yoga practice had created a major improvement of my menstrual cycle. No more spotting, which is loss of blood before the menstruation or in between periods. A couple of weeks of daily yoga, mainly creating videos, had cleared up the whole menstruation problem in one sweep. But I found that out, after I had stopped doing it.

One of reasons I had cancelled the videos was because they had not felt like a proper home yoga practice. They were okay “content wise”, and I posted them on my social media. But they didn’t satisfy my ego, I didn’t feel like I had achieved a proper practice.
And I had never expected them to be this effective.
That those thirty minute yoga sessions, including five minutes of Madonna storytelling, would actually have the power to do something for me physically.

Even now, when it had cured me and there was absolutely no need, or supporting evidence, for a “real” home yoga practice, I secretly still believed in the path with the biggest thorns. That a personal practice was supposed to be hard.

I reinstalled my daily YouTube and looked around at other affairs in my life. Where was I demanding myself to be perfect, because that was the only way it counted? And where was I then paralyzed instead, and beating myself up about that?
Where did I function incredibly well on hacks, shortcuts, and things that just came out of me naturally? Only to then dismiss them?
A lot.
Oh yes, and there too.

When the truth is, you only have this much willpower. You only have this many hours in the day. And before you decide that something has to be enormous and impressive and hard, for it to count, sweating your ass off to get it perfect, just think about all the other stuff that you could have used that energy for.
There is the 80-20 rule; You can achieve eighty percent of the result, using twenty percent of the resources. After that you have a choice;
To make it perfect, throwing the other eighty percent of your resources at it.
Or move on to the next project, using the next 20%
You could end up with five projects, all good to go, but with some room for improvement. Most likely something only you would see.
Or have one project, one area of your life, as close to perfection as humanly possible but at the cost of having invested it all.

You get choose; Be a perfectionist or be productive and create five times more?

Or in my case;
Bootcamp myself on sheer willpower into a daily ninety minute yoga routine
make only a thirty minute video, and then use the other eighty percent of my energy to write a daily column, publish my eight books, translate my Witte Tijgerin guide from Dutch to English, update my websites, run a yoga studio, be a writer and have a flourishing social life?

The meaning of Done is better than perfect,  has never been more clear.

An unexamined life is not worth living

I post a daily yoga video on YouTube
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