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How to let go of expectation in your yoga class

Hands up all the list makers, the goal setters, the go getters. Don’t you just love it when things go to plan or better still, beyond your expectations?

I certainly do!

But what happens when they don’t?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll get caught up in frustration, guilt, self-doubt and give yourself a hard time for not doing things well enough or fast enough.

Sound familiar?

We’re all guilty of it. Placing expectations is a great way to set and achieve goals in an accountable way, but shouldn’t come with a side dose of stress, tension, and self-sabotage! If your challenges are becoming chores, is it really a realistic expectation?

Expectation can manifest in many ways during a yoga practice:

Determination to achieve a particular pose or look a certain way

Frustration when you miss a practice

Fear of not knowing what to do

At what point did simply showing up for the practice become not enough? In fact, Aparigraha, one of the Yamas outlined in the Yoga Sutras, teaches us to let go of attachment to a particular outcome and enjoy yoga for the present moment experience. If this was good enough all those thousands of years ago, then why should it be any different now?

I know what you’re thinking, it’s all easier said than done this ‘letting go’ malarkey. It’s important to remember, though, that letting go of expectation is a process not a quick release so here’s a few tips to get your started:

BE OPEN to new possibilities and experiences

By setting your sights on one end goal, are you missing all the good bits along the way? Remember yoga doesn’t have an end point or expiration date. Embracing the smaller milestones and enjoying the journey is what it’s all about. You may even surprise yourself with what you discover along the way.


Self compassion helps to build resilience and improves your relationship with yourself and others. It’s about recognising your limits and approaching them with curiosity rather than self-judgement. You wouldn’t tell a friend they’re not good enough, so why treat yourself the same way?


Expectations are set in the future and with your head solely focused on the outcome, you lose out on what’s happening right now. Intentions allow you to loosen grip on the outcome and focus on the experience as it happens.

But surely letting go of expectation mean letting go of motivation? Of course not! Don’t limit your expectations of yoga to ‘more this’, ‘less that’, ‘should be this’ or ‘can’t be that’. Whatever hopes or goals you take with you on to the mat, know that you will come away with SO MUCH MORE!

Need a little help getting started? Try this Letting Go meditation or a gentle 20-minute RELEASE practice

Emily x

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