The perfect lesson at Perfect Health


Perfect Health Graduates February 2015

And probably not so perfect post…..oh well.

Seems odd that during the last stretch of teacher training for Deepak’s Perfect Health programme, one lesson to really learn was – ‘don’t try to be so perfect’.

Let me explain. It’s February 16, 2015 and I’m back in La La Chopra land – a third time in under a year (for me that’s totally ‘la la’).

It’s Perfect Health Teacher Training certification week. I’ve made it! I have a folder so rammed with lesson plans and study materials it needs its own baggage allowance. I’ve read the books, attended the webinars and bribed my friends to come to my classes. I’m living the Ayurvedic teachings each and every day. I’m ready.

Not so fast. Cue arrival of Vata imbalance. In Ayurvedic terms, Vata is one of three Doshas that influence our wellbeing. It has qualities of space and air and governs movement, change and whatever goes on in the nervous system. Too much Vata and all the activity in the body goes out of control.

Suddenly I’m a test case. Here’s what happens.

  • My mind starts to race
  • My heart is pounding
  • I’m anxious
  • I’m worried
  • I can’t sleep
  • My mouth runs away with my words as fast as my thoughts leave my head
  • I can’t retain stuff – information pops in and out
  • I start skipping meals – ok I like the resulting weight loss – but that’s not the point. I’m about to graduate as a Chopra Certified Perfect Health instructor and perfect is exactly the opposite of how I’m doing right now.

What’s that all about? Have I learned nothing here?

You know what? Yes, Yes, Yes! Why, because I stepped back and asked that very question! I paid attention. I inquired… What’s popping up for me here?

I looked for the message, I sought the significance and without too much digging, the answer emerged.

“Stop trying to be so perfect.”

Love that! The clues are there if you go looking – and now I’m excited. The universe is telling me something here. How exactly? Ok, let’s see…

First clue.

It’s day one of testing. Who’s testing me – only Claire Diab – International Yoga Therapist, Master Educator and co-developer of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga Teacher Training courses. You can’t get much closer to founders of Perfect Health, Deepak Chopra and David Simon, than that!

No pressure. Now I’ve got to be perfect right? I resist the urge to swap groups. Everything is exactly as it’s meant to be. That’s my new mantra – I stick with it.

Anyways, after a disastrous first stab at presenting Lesson 1 on Ayurveda, I got a healthy injection of Claire’s frank feedback and walked away with her gloriously earthy New Jersey voice ringing in my ears – ‘lose the notes Josie’. I guess much like Yoda urging Luke of Star Wars fame to ‘use the force’ – hilarious but true.

So, I considered it – grudgingly.

Second Clue

It’s day two of testing. I’m at 7am yoga and the Spiritual lesson of the day is Law of Least Effort. Now I’m reminded, minimum effort equals maximum results. One of my favourite laws, how could I forget it.

So right there on that Yoga mat, I gave myself a day off from the struggle. I wasn’t going to ‘try to be perfect’ today.

Third Clue

If I didn’t quite get the message, just to be sure, said folder of perfectly written lesson plans, so painstakingly pre-prepared and dragged 5,000 miles around the world collapses.

Me, with Karen, George and Krystine
Me, with Karen, George and Krystine

So now I’m pretty sure something is telling me I need to lose the notes. I don’t have to ‘try to be perfect’. I’m fine as I am – I know this stuff.

The next test goes well (funny that should happen huh?). And what I noticed was how beautifully unique each of our presentations were, and how funny, courageous, fascinating my fellow wannabe teachers are. I’d stopped judging them against me and me against them.

Now don’t get me wrong, not trying to be perfect is a hard lesson for me to learn. Like most of us, I’ve been conditioned to look for validation of my worth from the outside. And even though I know my presentations rock, (you can look at my notes – they do) that’s somehow not good enough until someone tells me they rock.

So, I’m still working on making my emotional foundation a little stronger – it takes time to unravel years of programming. But the magic is beginning. Thanks to yoga and mediation, I’m accessing a place deep within myself and I’m seeing the clues that will guide my behaviour and give me direction in my life. And maybe in time I will start to ditch some of my destructive habits and eject those limiting beliefs that repeat over and over in my life and hold me back. Including that I have to ‘try to be perfect’.

By the way, I made the grade. And I’m now officially a Chopra Certified Perfect Health Instructor.

And if you did want to read my notes to see if they really did rock – sorry – I left them in California.