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How Yoga Teacher Training Helped me Ditch Perfectionism

GentlePaige Reohr2 Comments
How yoga teacher training helped me ditcher perfectionism and taught me that I am enough. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #gentleisthenewperfect #selflove #selfcare #healthy #wellness

How Yoga Teacher Training Helped me Ditch Perfectionism

Part I

About 2 months ago I took a deep breath, grabbed a pencil, and began filling out an application to take part in a 200 hour yoga teacher training.

Hands shaking and heart racing, I wrote answers to the standard questions.

Name. Age. Number of years practicing yoga. Turned the page.

How yoga teacher training helped me ditcher perfectionism and taught me that I am enough. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #gentleisthenewperfect #selflove #selfcare #healthy #wellness

Stopped and stared at the medical history questions.

Do you have physical injuries or illness?

Umm, how much time do you have?

Autoimmune disease. Lower back pain. Separated abdominals. Bad ankle. Ovarian cysts. Endometriosis.

Should I stop now?

Are you trying to get pregnant? Yes.

Are you pregnant? No (but thanks for bringing it up).

I put my pencil down.

Looked again at my answers--my body on paper.

Is this a yoga body?

Tears fell onto the words, smearing the answers.

So I folded it up, tucked it away. Went outside. Took some deep breaths.

Is this a yoga body?

Yes. This is me. My right now body.

I can be sick and healing, grateful and shattered.

I can show up.

Broken in places, yet still whole.

Okay, then.

Time to answer the the questions.

Slip the application into a pristine manila folder.

Walk to the front desk. Hand it over.

Just me. As is. Ready to start.

Part II

I got the email.

You’re in. Welcome to yoga teacher training. Get ready. We start soon.

Super. Perfect. Wonderful. Wait. WHAT AM I DOING???

More specifically, have I lost my mind?

Ah, there you are fear. I see you.

Suddenly the image of every person I imagine awaiting me at teacher training clouds my brain.

Probably twenty-something. Fantastically strong. Impossibly bendy.

And just this vision of a studio full of Instaperfect yogis stops me cold.

I can’t do a handstand to save my life and haven’t mastered chaturanga pushup.

What if I don’t fit in? What if I’m not enough?

Gotcha. The familiar soul-crushing, dream-killing combo. Fear + not enough.

But this time the desire to become a student and teacher outweighs the fear.

The thoughts don’t define me. They aren’t me.

So I walk in. Simile. Say hello. Deep breath. Heart open.

Enough in body. Enough in mind.

Ready for now. Ready for what’s next.

Part III

Looking ahead it all seems impossible. There is no way. I can’t. Definitely not.

Week one of yoga teacher training and I’m shoulder deep in overwhelm + self-doubt.

The only possible way forward: dig deep and hold onto the present moment.

Don’t spend so much time looking ahead. Focus on now. Today. One thing at a time.

Okay, then. Five poses. Cue the shapes. Deepen. Breath. Great. Got it. I can do this.

But then, week two.

Time to stand up and teach.

In front of everyone.

Nope. No thank you. Hard pass.

I am freaking

It takes all my willpower to stay put. To not to stand up and run.

I don’t know how to do this yet. I’ll mess up. Make mistakes. In front of everyone.

So, no. I’ll pass.

Stay in this safe zone where not trying means not failing.

But then they call on me and I stand up and something comes out. Not sure what. It was sort of a blackout experience.

I sit back down.

The feedback: you did just fine.

But we couldn’t hear you.

Where is your voice? Oh. My voice?

It’s stuck under the fear. I know it’s there, though. Directly beneath the surface.

I can feel it. Almost hear it.

So I keep standing up and making mistakes and letting it go and discovering what it right there waiting.

And what’s right here?

It is so much better than perfect.

Part IV

Beginning feels like jumping into icy cold water.

Breath catches. Gasping. Floundering. Flapping.

Trying to figure out which way it up.

But then, maybe, release.

Find the air. Breath in. Breath out. Let go. Find the float.

Halfway through yoga teacher and realizing I just need to float.

And breathe.

Give up perfect. Open up.

Make a choice: a ) try to teach my 30 minute midterm perfectly--nail every cue, by the book, nothing missed; or b) simply go for it--bring my true self, make mistakes, leave things out, and oh that’s right, be vulnerable.

B it is. So I show up. Really go for it.

And midway through I realize--omg--I actually

Every single word comes out with a giant smile because it occurs to me (late to the party, I know) that I’ve been missing the point.

The perfect-seeking, thinking I need to look a certain way or bend a particular direction, fear of failure, all if it.

That’s what was making the water cold.

But now I realize it’s really just helping people connect with themselves and feel their breath and--of course--it’s not really about me.

It’s about us.

And the water is actually warm after all

Part V: The End/The Beginning

I went into yoga teacher training holding onto all that I’m not, clinging to the ways I don’t fit neatly into the box.

You know this "yoga-box," right?

Bendy, young, calm, thin, perfect, totally + completely zen.

Which isn’t exactly me.

So I decided I was only there to learn.

Independent observer, taking in the information, risking nothing.

But, I also committed to the practice and to the work.

Ten weeks. Practice. Do the work.

And guess what?

I still can’t do a chaturanga pushup. Or a handstand.

I’m still six feet tall, prefer yoga pants over jeans, and make awkward jokes when I'm nervous.

But also.

But also I’m a yoga teacher.

Or rather, I’m exactly who I’ve always been--teacher, storyteller, awkward joke-teller.

After all of this I fully understand that there isn’t a box, or if there is, I don’t need to squeeze my way into it.

So maybe you need to hear this today, if you’re feeling less-than, not-enough, or staying safe because you've bought into this idea, too, yoga or otherwise: there is no box.

Just you.

As you are.

And you are right where you need to be.

You know exactly where you’re going.

Trust that you are enough.


How yoga teacher training helped me ditcher perfectionism and taught me that I am enough. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #gentleisthenewperfect #selflove #selfcare #healthy #wellness

A Simplified Guide to Undoing the To-Do List

GentlePaige ReohrComment
A quick guide to undoing the to-do list. Read on for more on doing less to feel more! #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #selfcare #organize #simplifiedguide

I’m a list maker.

Give me a task, a job, a day and I’ll make a list.

Maybe even a spreadsheet.

Possibly color-coded.

I’ve always found lists comforting, a way to organize and categorize the chaos, and--I’m not gonna lie--I simply love crossing things off.

The problem with lists, though, is that they quickly become unwieldy.

Items get added without regard to what’s already there.

Without mind to time.

Or reality.

Or to what matters most.

This used to be me: I’d make lists.

Long lists.

Then I’d go about trying to check things off, all the while adding more.

Always more.

Stuck in the cycle of never done, never enough.

Every day ending with an uncompleted list.

Then one day I (finally) realized that I was the one making the lists.

So here’s what I did: I stopped creating impossible lists.

Instead of the never-ending, I focus on three.

Writing just three priorities each day--for work, for family, and for myself.

The prioritizing?

Now that's the hard part.

But also, the good part.

Because the end of the day doesn’t mean a list of things that didn’t get done.

Instead it means a short list of what mattered, plus lots of letting go of what doesn’t.

What would it look like if you reframed your lists?

Less piling it on.

More peeling back.

Doing less to feel more.

Undoing the to-do.


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    A quick guide to undoing the to-do list. Read on for more on doing less to feel more! #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #selfcare #organize #simplifiedguide

    The Simplified Guide to Letting Go of Perfectionism

    GentlePaige ReohrComment

    The Simplified Guide to Letting Go of Perfectionism

    A simplified guide to letting go of perfectionism. Read on for more on how perfectionism is different from striving for greatness. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #wellness #healthy

    What Perfectionism Looks Like in Real Life

    Perfectionism, at its core, is about the stories we tell ourselves regarding what and how we should be.

    It’s about creating aspirational, often unattainable, expectations and comparing where we are now with where we think we ought to be.

    And often it’s about beating ourselves up when we fall short or don’t hit the mark.

    Never mind that the expectations weren’t even possible to begin with.


    It requires suspending the reality of real life, constructing a world that is unachievable, and then berating or beating ourselves up for not achieving or accomplishing an effectively false reality.

    The Difference Between Perfectionism and Striving for Greatness

    There’s an important difference between perfectionism and striving for greatness.

    As Brené Brown writes in, The Gifts of Imperfection: "Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best.

    Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame.

    It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

    How Perfectionism May Be Holding You Back

    Perfectionism shows up in many ways, but has a particularly negative impact on health and wellness.

    Because it may be tempting to strive to eat perfectly, move perfectly, and look perfect, attempts toward perfection can lead to frustration, overwhelm, self-criticism, and often abandoning healthy lifestyle habits altogether.

    On top of that, perfectionism may show up differently depending on your specific Wellness Personality.

    For example, a Dynamo might be stuck comparing herself to her own internal expectations, while a Seeker may be focused on comparing herself to what others are doing.

    And the Cultivator may be feel like everyone else has it figured out, and discouraged by how far she thinks she has to go.

    (Curious about your Wellness Personality? Take the quiz to find out your type and to grab your free resource guide!).

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      The Simplified Guide to Ditching Perfectionism

      The good news is that perfectionism does not have to be a way of life.

      Read on for the 5-step process to ditch perfection for good.

      1 | See Mistakes as a Normal Part of the Learning and Growing Process

      Congratulations, you’re human! And humans make mistakes.

      Instead of viewing mistakes as a reflection of your self-worth, and immediately jumping to embarrassment, shame, and self-criticism, try reframing the internal conversation.

      When you make as mistake, a misstep, or slide into old habits, remind yourself that you are human and mistakes are a normal part of the learning and growing process.

      2 | Chose Meaning Over Perfect

      Take a moment to self-reflect on your personal values, and whether meaning is more important than perfection.

      If it is, become more mindful of moments when you consciously choose meaning over perfect.

      Maybe that looks like a 5-minute walk in the outdoors, even when you can’t get to the gym for an hour.

      Or perhaps that looks like roasting a few veggies and grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the store in favor of an elaborate dinner.

      3 | Gentle Over Perfect

      If self-compassion is perfectionist kryptonite, let's have more of it!

      Self-compassion simply means extending the same kindness and empathy to yourself that you do to others.

      Easier said than done, right?

      Here’s what to do: the next time you find yourself falling into the perfectionist mindset, try imagining that you’re talking to a friend or child.

      What would you say to him or her? Would you share kind and empathetic words?

      If so, try sharing those same words with yourself, and remember: gentle is the new perfect.

      4 | Just Get Started

      Procrastination is a sure sign that you’re stuck in a perfectionist mindset.

      Putting off the workout because you can’t fit in a full hour.

      Skipping meal prep because you don’t have time to prepare a full week’s worth of food.

      Not meditating because it’s difficult to sit for 20 minutes.

      The next time you find yourself procrastinating or putting something off that you know is important for you health and self-care, ask yourself: am I avoiding this because I have an expectation of perfect?

      If the answer is yes, there’s a simple answer.

      Do something.


      Just get started.

      Some, in this care, is most certainly better than none.

      5 | Don’t confuse Consistency With Perfection

      We all know that consistency is key when it comes to long-term success.

      But we get into trouble when we confuse consistency with perfection.

      Consistency does not mean being perfect, or hitting the mark every single day.

      It means showing up and doing the work most of the time.

      Do it more than you don’t.

      It’s that simple.

      Ready to take things next-level? Take the Wellness Personality Quiz and grab the free resource guide, packed with curated tips and tools just for you.

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      A simplified guide to letting go of perfectionism. Read on for more on how perfectionism is different from striving for greatness. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #wellness #healthy

      How to Prioritize When Everything Is Important

      GentlePaige ReohrComment

      Want a simple way to prioritize when everything seems important? Read on for the simple strategy that will help you prioritize with purpose.

      Here’s a simple way to prioritize when everything seems important. The secret? To prioritize with purpose and process. #realfoodwholelife #productivity #organization #intention #mindful #mindfulliving

      Prioritize with Purpose

      You know that feeling when you’ve got a to-do list is a mile long, and it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done?

      You know, that feeling when everything seems important, and there’s absolutely no way you can possibly fit it all in?

      Yeah, that feeling is totally normal.

      Between work, family, chores, and taking care of wellness, the feeling of never-ending, never-enough, done can creep up quickly.

      The worst part?

      The longer the list, the more overwhelming the whole thing starts to seem, and the less likely it is that you’ll be able to focus in and get anything done.

      Here’s the good news: there is a simple way to prioritize when everything seems important.

      The secret? To prioritize with purpose and process.

      To take that crazy to-do list and run it through a filter that will allow you to prioritize what actually matters, and that will set you on a sustainable path toward your goals.

      It all starts by asking a simple set of questions. Here’s how it works.

      but first, grab the free cheatsheet to simplify prioritizing!

      Grab the Cheatsheet!

      Downlaod the free cheatsheet to help you simplify prioritization.

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        5 Key Questions

        1. Which tasks are intentional and meaningful?

        Take each item on your to-do list, one-by-one, and ask yourself if doing the task has any real meaning to you.

        Is is something with significance, that truly matters?

        Is it something that’s connected to your “why,” or your overall values?

        If the answer is yes, then keep it one your list.

        If the answer is no, move onto the next question.

        2. Which tasks are not intentional or meaningful?

        Using a critical eye, examine those items on your list that aren’t intentional or meaningful.

        There are often those items that you think you should do, rather than what really has meaning to you.

        Or there are the items related to others’ expectations or demands, but that don’t align with your life and values.

        Once you find these non-purposeful items, go ahead and ditch them, or at the very least, move them to the bottom of the list.

        3. Which tasks help to create a sustainable path forward?

        Think in terms incremental forward progress here.

        Does the items connect to a bigger goal or plan?

        Is it laid out in a way that allows you to take baby steps, to create momentum, to sustain effort over time?

        If so, keep the item on your list!

        Here’s a simple way to prioritize when everything seems important. The secret? To prioritize with purpose and process. #realfoodwholelife #productivity #organization #intention #mindful #mindfulliving

        4. Which tasks are without process?

        Take a close look at the items left.

        This is the stuff that generally fills our days.

        The busy work, the stuff that is more for other people than for our own values, the time wasters, the distractions.

        If the item isn’t leading you to where you want to be, in a way that’s incremental, then go ahead and take it off the list.

        5. How can I repeat and refine?

        Now keep coming back to these questions again and again.

        Ask which items have purpose and process.

        Then work on prioritizing these.

        When you apply these questions it becomes clear that everything is not actually equally important, and that some things matter more than others.

        Start your day with the purpose and process items, or take them on when you have the most energy.

        Then be okay with letting the rest go, or at least letting them fall to to the bottom of the list.

        More purpose, more process, more focus on really matters.

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        Here’s a simple way to prioritize when everything seems important. The secret? To prioritize with purpose and process. #realfoodwholelife #productivity #organization #intention #mindful #mindfulliving