Can you be “good” at yoga?
Take a moment to build a mental image of a person that is really good at yoga.
What pose(s) are they doing? What are they wearing? Where are they practicing? Who are they practicing with? What does their mat look like?
Even though these might seem like the most relevant questions, they’re actually pretty far off from what matters most. The main issue with these questions is they address external characteristics of this hypothetical person.
Reading Books by Their Cover
We’re conditioned to think that we can know all we need to know about someone by what we see. Taking this into the yoga room, it’s natural to conflate physical abilities with internal qualities.
But, to be good at yoga, almost every determining factor happens internally, within the person. Being good at yoga is in a person’s intention or purpose (invisible), their ability to stay focused in the moment for extended periods of time (invisible), making intelligent choices based on their physical limitations (invisible).
You can’t see if someone is good at yoga. In any yoga class, what’s really happening is individuals experiencing their personal practice in a group setting, even if this setting fuels the very thing yoga seeks to subdue.
So, that person doing a handstand over there? Good for them. Their ability to do this single pose doesn’t make them better at yoga or, more importantly, a better person.
Also, you’re not getting better at yoga by watching them.
It’s in our nature to compare, compete, worry, and give in to distractions. These external factors contribute to a mind that’s constantly in flux and rarely at peace. Working on the things that help us focus and prolong tranquility is what makes us better at yoga.