What is good yoga?

What is good yoga? What is strength? Is good yoga, strong yoga? 

After working with the theme of shoulders in class this week, I find myself thinking about these questions. We have such a perception in our society that we have to be perfect. That we have to be the best. That we have to continually improve, grow, gain...

But often this striving for perfection becomes the downfall, the block, the barrier...Trust me, I know. I have done this to myself. For most of my life. And, I am still learning that today is good enough. That showing up with full effort and releasing the result is perfection. No matter the outcome. 

Pattabhi Jois used to say, "Yoga is possible for anyone who wants it. Yoga is universal." He did NOT say, yoga is possible only when you can do a handstand or when you have the strongest chaturanga. He did not even say that you need arms and legs that function. (Jois is famous for teaching Ashtanga yoga to people will all manner of illnesses and disabilities...) 

No one knows your back story. No one knows if you are healing from an illness or an injury, recovering from several nights lost sleep, nursing a broken heart, been super stressed at work...or just starting on this yoga journey and slowly finding your way into the practice. On the mat, it matters not what anyone else thinks of your practice (to be honest, if they are practicing yoga, they are probably internally focused haven't even noticed what you are doing...) 

So what is it that you are carrying that you can put down? Our shoulders are strong and are meant to carry...but not everything. By letting go, by putting down, by NOT pushing, by NOT expecting or demanding perfection, we make space for possibility. We make space for the practice...and the life...that we really need.

...this is YOUR practice. For YOUR body, your mind and your heart...as they are today. This is enough. This is good yoga.