Embracing High Expectations

January 24, 2024

The 3 Yoga Principles to Help You Handle Hard Things Better

Running away from high expectations because they create anxiety, they create stress, they create paralysis in terms of your performance, is not the answer. High expectations are not the problem; how you handle them is. Let’s talk about the three yoga principles that are going to help you handle hard things better.

Embracing High Expectations

The only reason that you have high expectations in the first place is that at some point in your journey, you demonstrated proficiency at a level that warranted such expectations. So what that tells me is that it’s already in you. It’s just a matter of allowing yourself to let that outside noise, those distractions, those negative thoughts diminish so that you can return to your true form, that you can reclaim your potential.

The Three Yoga Principles

The three yoga principles that are really going to help you do that are:

  1. Ahimsa
  2. Asteya
  3. Aparigraha

And underneath all of this, because it doesn’t matter if we talk about all of these principles and we talk about all of these tools, if you do not have the right standards in place, then none of this matters.

Standards Matter

If I gave you these three options: Perfection, progress, winning – which one of those three do you think is the highest standard of them all?

  • Perfection is unattainable when you can’t hit it. Guess what? You have the option to quit.
  • Winning. You could win with crappy standards; you could win with a bad attitude; you could win with a horrible team; you can win on accident.
  • Progress, on the other hand, is a standard so high that you never get to quit. Progress is a standard based in love.

Moving Towards Love

We are either moving towards love or fear. Whatever we do, when you are moving towards love, you are moving towards the highest standard there is.

When you are playing small, when you are talking about anxiety, you are talking about regression, you’re talking about frustration, you’re talking about anger – those are all byproducts of fear.

So if we can start to create principles that allow you to move closer towards love and away from fear, then high expectations are not a reflection of what you have to do; they become this aspiration of what you could do.

It becomes a space of curiosity over judgment, courage over confidence, of love over fear. It becomes this mechanism that drives you instead of something that diminishes you.

Exploring the Yoga Principles

Ahimsa – Non-Harming

Let’s talk about those three principles. The first one is Ahimsa – non-harming. In what way are you showing up that’s creating harm in terms of your performance? Whether that’s how you talk to yourself, whether that’s how you fuel for your competition – what are you eating before your competition? How well are you hydrating? What’s your sleep look like? All of these inputs, if they can go through the lens of non-harming, you set yourself up for success.

Asteya – Non-Stealing

The second one that we’re going to talk about is Asa, and ASA is non-stealing. Not in the literal sense, but in the sense of how are you stealing from your potential when you neglect to show up in a certain way?

What are you stealing from yourself when you compare yourself to others?

When we look at high expectations, a lot of people crumble under that pressure because they’re comparing themselves to what they did in the past, they’re comparing themselves to their peers, and they’re living in this space where they are stealing from their potential.

When you allow yourself to show up just as you are, when you let go of high expectations, low expectations, any expectations at all, it allows you to settle into a rhythm of what is. In yoga, we call that Saucha – letting the moment be what it is.

Purity of the moment – can you be where your feet are? Not in the past, not in the future, but where you are now. Can you move forward with what you have right now?

Satya – Truthfulness

Satya – truthfulness, without any extra reps, without any more time in the gym, without a different lineup, a different formation, more time to practice – let’s show up as you are right now, and from that headspace, compete.

So now you don’t have high expectations; you don’t have low expectations; you have no expectations at all.

The only thing that you can control is how you show up – your effort, your attitude, the outcome. You have no control over the third and final yoga principle.

Aparigraha – Non-Attachment

Aparigraha is non-attachment. When we let go of these outcomes, it allows us to focus on the things that we can control.

Preparation and Control

So when I’m talking to you about handling high expectations, I’m talking to you about your preparation – what are the things that you do before you step into the arena or before you step into whatever it is that you have to do?

And you look back at the steps that you have taken over time to prepare yourself.

Under most cases, we always wish we had a little bit more time to prepare. But if you can deal with the moment as it is – Saucha – if you can let go of this attachment to what could be – Aparigraha – now you can be with what is.

You can show up and know that you control nothing and allow yourself to be free.

The Power of Yoga Principles

When we talk about incorporating a yoga practice into the way that you compete, it is so important that you start to learn and live these yamas and niyamas.

These principles help you create more meaning and more peace within your experience.

When you learn these, you become unstoppable because each and every scenario that comes up for you as an athlete has an answer to it in a way that you can create more peace, more meaning, and the way that you can show up and play free.

Free Resource: Guided Meditation

If you’re feeling like you’re stuck and you’re not getting the momentum that you want, Click the link for my You’ve Got Shit To Do Meditation.

This is fantastic for anyone who was just trying to jumpstart their journey and get back on track.

Every once in a while, I don’t care who you are; we need a reminder of who we are and what we’re capable of. That’s what this is.

So if you’ve got a second, grab that

As always,

Rooting for you BIG,


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Hi, I'm Annette

a self-proclaimed excellence junkie, yogi, part-time college professor, and mom of three. And maybe, just maybe, your next mentor...