On Yoga Resolutions

January 5, 2012 / Aaron

I've often wondered if yoga is at odds with goal setting. I mean, you're supposed to be accepting yourself in the here and now, right? But at the same time pushing yourself to your end range? We all love the feeling of doing something we didn't used to be able to do, is there a problem with actively chasing that feeling?

I set two "yoga goals" last year, and I didn't "accomplish" either of them. I can't do the splits, nor can I do handstand. Meh. Maybe that's the kind of goal setting that doesn't mesh well with yoga. Teacher's would call this a "results-oriented goal," really dorky education peeps would call it a "summative assessment." Meaning, here's your deadline, can you do it? Yes or no. The answer is black and white, and shows no distinction between being aaaaaaaalmost there, and miles away. Improvement counts for nothing.

The other type of goal (that, turns out, is much more effective in the classroom) seems to be the kind of goal that can be in the same room with yoga. This is the "process-oriented goal," the "formative assessment." It's not about what you can and cannot do (seriously, out of those thousands and thousands of asanas, the former would be depressing), but about the way you go about it. Your process counts. Your effort. Your attitude. Whether or not you check off the "yes" box at the end of the year/month/day, you have a whole spectrum of softer skills to evaluate. This is actually harder to do (hence the reason why most classrooms rely on the former. What's the difference between an A- and a B+ in effort, anyway?), but when it's done correctly, it can be a lot more motivating for students, and it usually yields better results.

Okay. End of nerdy teacher stuff. I will set goals in yoga, but not the kind I set last year. I'm afraid that by writing them out, they'll all sound cliche, but basically, I just want to do it. I just want to go there. To stop thinking about it, stop second-guessing, stop throwing out terms like "end range" and "comfort zone" and just do it already! Go, girl, go!

So, I'm curious. What are your yoga goals this year?

Cheers to you! xoxo