So often when I tell people that I teach yoga, they say something along the lines of, "I should do more yoga."
The thing is, yoga isn't about shoulds.
I spent four years in a job where guilt followed me around every day. There was the guilt about not getting everything done, but mainly the guilt of not meeting my own expectations. Even after coming to terms with the fact that the expectations I had set for myself were too high, I still constantly felt guilty.
I was shoulding myself.
Shoulds come in when we talk about self-love and self-care, as well. Have you ever heard someone say, "You have to learn to love yourself" ? When you put it like that, it's yet another unchecked box on the to-do list!
Having high expectations for ourselves can surely sometimes be a good thing. It allows us to triple read our email before we hit "send", to practice our skills to mastery, to be there for others when they need us.
We get into trouble when our ideas for what we need to achieve are impossible. We're not superhuman, after all. We're regular people, with just as many weaknesses as we have strengths. And it's a beautiful thing to be perfectly imperfect.
All of this guilt for not being our ideal selves is hurting us much more than it's helping.
Yoga helps us accept ourselves as imperfect. When we practice and meditate, we may come to realise that our outer layers are flawed and make mistakes and think negatively, but that underneath all of that is something good. Oneness. A deeper connection to a whole.
Practising yoga may lead to increased self-acceptance. Don't let that make you feel like you should be doing more!
Give yourself a break. You're already doing enough.