Why there’s no such thing as being good at yoga

One of the most common things I hear when I tell people they should give yoga a go is “I’m not very good at yoga.”

Which makes this yogi quite upset. Because there’s no such thing.

One thing I’d like to see us move away from in the future is the term “doing yoga”. I’m guilty of using that term plenty of times. I’ve said “I do yoga at least once a day”. While it might not seem like a big deal, I’m really trying to catch myself. Because I don’t “do” yoga each day, I practice yoga each day.

By changing this language, it means we change how we perceive yoga. We don’t ‘do’ yoga to be good at it. We practice yoga to be better yogis. I remember one of my teachers said at the end of a class one day, “Once we know what we’re doing, it no longer becomes a practice.” These words have really stuck with me.

Yoga, at its core, is a practice. A daily ritual. A mental and physical routine. 

At first, yoga might not be a practice. It might just be something that we try. But if it gets to the point where you’re scheduling in a yoga class once a week, once every few days…. maybe once every day – it’s unintentionally become your practice.

The reason “doing yoga” feels a bit icky to me is that it makes it sound like it’s something that I have to do. ‘I have to go grocery shopping, I have to to pay those bills, I have to make an appointment at the dentist.’

Sound familiar? Yoga shouldn’t become a chore. Yoga can be something that can easily fit into your life. And it doesn’t mean just on the mat.

“Doing yoga” means that we can only practice when we are in a studio surrounded by others. Whilst “practicing yoga” means remembering to breathe, going through the physical motions with asanas (poses), treating yourself and others kindly, being mindful. There’s so much more to yoga than just a few stretches on a mat.

So if you’ve ever uttered the words “I’m not very good at yoga” (I have said them at least a few times in my life), I ask you to slowly eradicate that sentence from your vocabulary.

Because at the end of the day, no one is better at yoga than the person next to them. Going into a deep backbend doesn’t make me better than you. Doing the full splits doesn’t mean I’ve reached enlightenment and you haven’t.

Because it’s called a yoga practice, not a yoga perfect, for a reason.