A couple of weeks before people join me on a yoga holiday, I always send out an information sheet. I ask them the general stuff about diets and previous yoga experience but I also ask them if there’s a specific goal they have for the holiday.

Usually, Learning to do the headstand!, is a Top three answer.

This answer is not only given by people who have been practicing for a while, it also comes from people who have been doing yoga for just several months!
From a physical point of view, a -big and hairy 🙂 …- audacious goal as most of these people don’t have the muscle strength yet to perform a safe headstand. From a psychological point of view, it has to do with setting standards.

I often see that these people not only set these high standards for their yoga practice, it also comes back in many aspects of their daily lives.
Now, don’t get me wrong here! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals. It just becomes a pain when these high standards start interfering with your overall feeling of happiness.

Question: Do you find yourself setting high standards for yourself and others, then beating yourself up if things look or feel less than absolutely perfect?

High standards

When is it good enough for you?

How would you like to be able to go with the Flow more, to release the control enough that you can let go of the small stuff, and enjoy the big beauty of life in all of its colorful imperfections?
How would it feel to be able to Accept more of your own human errors?
Would you be able to enjoy life more easily?

 A lot of advice is out there: Setting goals, visualizing, but also Letting go… One would get confused of less!

A first step is to know when you have honestly done all that you personally can do to the best of your abilities, there really is nothing more you can do beyond sitting back and allowing what is meant to be, to be. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!
As, those spaces in time, when we truly let go, is when the magic can really happen.

It requires a bit of practice to get into this zone and so here’s what you can Do:

1. Take time each morning to ask yourself two questions:


What am I grateful about in my life right now?


What am I proud about in my life now?

If this is completely new for you, know that we need to train ourselves and we need to cultivate certain emotions in order to be happy and feel that we’re enough.

2. Appreciating what is

At the end of each day, reflect about three things you did not control, that turned out to be just fine, or even perfectly in their own way.
Control is an illusion anyways…

3. Trust

Coming back to our little headstand. Trust that one day you will be in that pose. It can happen anywhere! In the supermarket, in the shower 🙂
No, seriously, a couple of years back, I thought I would be the only yoga teacher in the world who wasn’t able to do the headstand (…). Fact is, that I had a severe car crash a zillion years ago and I had proclaimed my neck to be my weakest spot.

I tried, I tried and I tried and those legs just wouldn’t go up or they would and I would trip over! Urgh…

At a certain point though, I really let go the whole idea of performing the headstand, and trusted that it would come one day,… or not. Both options were fine. “So be it, the world would now have a yoga teacher who couldn’t do a simple headstand.”
And what do you think happened a couple of months afterwards?
Right, after a really soft practice, I just gave it a go, with no expectations whatsoever et voilà, my headstand was born.

Headstand on Revealing Vajra Yoga retreat

Our yoga shala in Ibiza is the perfect place to try out your headstand!

All this to point out that as you relax fully into the flow, you will be much more open to opportunities, fun, and experiences that color your life!

Three things that you can try out for just a week. See if there’s something shifting in the way you approach things. Feel how it will change your take on certain things.

On our yoga holidays, we go in deeper on the aspects of setting high standards as part of our workshops and talks. Here, you will have no distractions, no daily to do lists (besides the daily routine of yoga, eat, sleep, yoga, eat, sleep) and you can make a kick start to bringing more happiness in your life. Always welcome to join!


4 responses to “How High are Your Standards?”

  1. korine den blanken says:

    That sounds sooooo familiair! I always want to be the best in life, otherwise i am not even to bother trying.
    And ofcourse one day i would like to be able to do the handstand 😉
    meanwhile just by being brings beautiful things to me and i love it!

  2. Beth says:

    It’s a tricky old balance between pushing yourself to achieve all that you can do without chastising yourself for all that you can’t. One should catch themselves when they are thinking ‘I should be’ or ‘I shouldn’t be’ doing that. I try to stop basing what I do on what others do and what is expected of me and in those rare moments I achieve so much more! Yoga has helped me with this greatly and Rachel in particular is a calming influence and inspiration to live life and not the other way round. Thank you!

  3. Rachel says:

    Beautifully put Korine, “just by being”. Rock on!

  4. Stijn says:

    Dear Rachel, thank you again for these words which inspire me! It is as if I hear you talking again at our reTREAT in Italy last summers. A TREAT for mind, body and soul indeed!
    All my love

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