I encourage my students to be proud every day they “meet the mat” and take practice. This is a real success that you should celebrate.
The problem is, not everybody does. Many students struggle with perfectionism. They worry about every muscle being perfectly held, each leg going just so high, every forward bend taking them just so deep. They want to have “the best” practice every day and if practice the day before was amazing then they beat themselves up if the next day’s practice feels a little less than yesterdays.
One fall of a foot off the mat in a standing pose or one breath held can unleash a cascade of negativity. Ultimately, yoga is not a struggle against yourself or a competition against your unwitting neighbor on the mat next to you but an invitation to know yourself better, to feel super comfortable in your own skin and in any situation.
Try taking practice from a different perspective. Notice your critical voice at such moments. Try to identify whose voice it is, where did it come from, when did it begin, how old were you when you first heard it? These subtle, quiet questions can provide you with a wealth of enlightening feedback. This approach can take your practice in a whole new direction putting you in deeper contact with your inner voice and inner truth. One of kindness and openness to yourself where you realize you are your own best source.
In Ashtanga yoga, we grow when we see the reflection of ourselves in our practice and begin to listen to its messages.